Today is the official half-way point of Lent. Have you kept your promises.
The exorcisms of Jesus are the topic of this reflection.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma–but never let him be the period.
If I [Jesus], then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that (I) drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 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. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (NAB Lk 11:19-23)
Beelzebub, the god who drove away the flies in the Old Testament, becomes Beelzebul, the prince of demons (Satan), in whose name the evil spirits were exorcised from the bodies of the possessed. The Beelzebul of this gospel reading, to most scholars, is simply a change of name invented by our Lord’s enemies, to throw discredit on His exorcisms. Out of threat, Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being processed by an evil spirit that could control other evil spirits. To believe in Jesus’ power as from God, would mean these priests were to be wrong in their beliefs and illicit practices. They would have to doubt there own ways of faith and living. And Satan wants us to doubt the mercy and forgiveness of God. Guilt is Satans trap to catch us.
In Acts 19:13-20, other (non-Jesus believing) Jewish exorcists tried unsuccessfully using Jesus’ name in their exorcisms, and thus recognized the power of God as being active in the exorcisms performed by Jesus and His followers. The people witnessing these events would themselves often convert to the teachings of Jesus after such events.
The context of “one stronger” may refer to Jesus. It is in Luke 3:16 that John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “more powerful than I.” I love this last sentence. It is a no holds barred statement. You either are with Him in all ways, or you will go to Hell, period!
We need to depend on our hope on God’s promises. God’s love proves nothing can separate us from Him except for our own actions. There is no sin He will not forgive, and He remembers no sin He has forgiven. God takes great pleasure in providing us with all we need. He is rich in mercy, and is slow to anger. God truly is our protector, friend, advocate, and Heavenly Father.
A famous Veggie-tale song is a great ending prayer for this reflection:
“God is bigger than the boogie man
He’s bigger than Godzilla, or the monsters on TV
Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man
and He’s watching out for you and me.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Constantine
Constantine was king of Cornwall. Unreliable tradition has him married to the daughter of the king of Brittany who on her death ceded his throne to his son and became a monk at St. Mochuda monastery at Rahan, Ireland. He performed menial tasks at the monastery, then studied for the priesthood and was ordained. He went as a missionary to Scotland under St. Columba and then St. Kentigern, preached in Galloway, and became Abbot of a monastery at Govan. In old age, on his way to Kintyre, he was attacked by pirates who cut off his right arm, and he bled to death. He is regarded as Scotland’s first martyr. His feast day is March 11th.
From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule # 11:
Trusting the Father, Christ chose for Himself and His mother a poor and humble life, even though He valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God’s children.
Thus, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, and as pilgrims and strangers on their way to the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.