In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - St. Augustine
(Gospel Text: Lk 11:15-26)
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.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, 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.
"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."
There is a common saying that “when our minds are made up, we don't like being confused with facts”.
Today, we are amazed to see how Jesus is preposterously “accused” of driving out demons «by the power of Beelzebub, the chief of the demons» (Lk 11:15). It is difficult to imagine a better deed —to expel, to rid their souls of the Devil, the instigator of evil— and, at the same time, to witness the most ignoble accusation —that he is doing it, precisely, by the power of the very Devil. It is really a ridiculous accusation, which shows and reflects a great blindness and jealousy in the Lord's accusers.
When people chose to live in cloistered political, cultural or ideological bigotry it is easy to despises the dissenting one and disqualify all his/her projects by denying him/her any proficiency and, even, any honesty. Often, the political or ideological adversary becomes a personal enemy. Confrontation degenerates into affront and aggressiveness.
How many people are today distressed by this atmosphere of mutual intolerance and denial, which, more often than not, is to be found in our public institutions, our places of work or in meetings and political confrontation!
The only solution to this dilemma is we must create, amongst ourselves, a climate of tolerance and mutual respect, where it is possible to seek different ways of dialogue. As for us Catholics, rather than hardening and wrongly consecrating our positions by manipulating God’s word and identifying him with our own attitude, we have to follow Jesus who —when John prevented someone else from casting out demons in his name— corrected him while saying: «Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you» (Lk 9:50). Inasmuch as «the countless chorus of shepherds becomes the single body of the one and only Shepherd» (St. Augustine).