October 7, 2016
(Our Lady of the Rosary)
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” Lk_11:15-26
St. Paul’s has such a wonderful sense of logic. You know, there are some decisions in life that are just as clear as day and night. And then, of course, there are always those difficult ones.
But when we have made the decision to follow Jesus, even the difficult ones become more clear, because we begin to develop the same sense of logic as St. Paul and Jesus.
Today Jesus tells the skeptics that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand. That philosophy works whether we’re talking about a corporation, a marriage, a rowboat or even a country. It makes perfect, logical sense.
Jesus asked his accusers, “Why would Satan want anyone driving himself out of a soul that he possessed?” It truly was a nonsensical accusation.
Jesus then gave two metaphorical examples. And my logic always struggled with both of them, because I was looking at them from the wrong perspective.
Jesus said, “When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.” ibid
In the first example, Jesus spoke of an armed guard being overpowered and plundered. And, as the armed guard, I always wondered how I was supposed to protect myself, if according to Jesus, I couldn’t win. But in Jesus’ metaphor, the armed guard isn’t us. It’s Satan. And it’s God who overpowers him! OUR defense is our Faith in God and not in ourselves.
St. Paul wrote, Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal_3:7-14
St. Paul argues with the Galatians over their trust in following the Law vs relying on God – in Faith. You see, Satan loves those 613 Jewish Laws, because it’s almost impossible to keep them ALL. Through them, he really has lots of leg-room to sniper us off.
But IF we rely on God – in Faith, if the only laws that we need to know are Loving God and Loving our Neighbor, then it’s a lot harder for Satan to attack – only those two precepts, knowing that God is there to back them up. It all makes perfect – ‘Jesus sense.’
Jesus said, “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.” Lk_11:15-26
But then, I also struggled with this second metaphor of Jesus. Again, because it always made me wonder about our Sacrament of Reconciliation. If I was the “house” that just got itself all cleaned out in Reconciliation, then, why would I want to be invaded by 7-more demons, when I could have just kept the ONE I had?
Ever wonder why we have that thing called Penance, after we’ve just been all cleaned up in reconciliation? Well, here’s the reason. It could be really easy for us to walk out of the Sacrament, and just go on with life – as usual. But it’s not just a car-wash. The dirt WILL come back. And the only way we can keep those 7-demons away is to fill the void (that was just cleaned up) with God.
THAT’s why there’s Penance.
That’s why there’s Prayer, and the Rosary, and the Eucharist.
And that’s why we continue to return to Reconciliation, just like our regular dental or medical maintenance visits – to make sure that void stays clean and filled with God.
Jesus said that ‘Every Kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste.’ And we can be sure that God’s Kingdom, in which WE have placed our Faith, will stand forever!
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