Thursday, March 12, 2015

“Temper us in fire, and we grow stronger. When we suffer, we survive.”

“Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone.” — Pope Francis, February 6, 2015

Gospel text: (LK 11:14-23)
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them 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.”

If you went to battle against a fearsome army, how would you defend yourself? You’d likely have your own weapons, bulletproof armor, and lots of backup. But in today’s Gospel, we hear that all Jesus needs to overcome the devil is his finger!

Jesus is stronger than the devil, so much so that when Satan, a “strong man,” bothers us, Jesus, the “stronger” man, easily overcomes him! This is what the story of the two strong men in today’s Gospel reading is about. One man is “strong,” “fully armed,” and has possessions he thinks are safe. But then a “stronger man” comes along, takes away the strong man’s armor, and “overcomes” him. The strong man is Satan, whose lies and temptations can make us feel like hostages.

Where do you feel trapped or held hostage?

Perhaps you feel that a pattern of sin or a struggling relationship will never get resolved. The downward spiral is too strong for you to overcome. Don’t give up! Remember Jesus, the stronger man. Remember the finger of God! In story after story in the Gospels, we read about the Lord doing awesome deeds as if it were nothing. Remember when he was confronted with a violent storm at sea. All he had to do was say, “Quiet! Be still!” and everything went calm (Mark 4:39). Or think about how he raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead with just two words: Talitha koum (Mark 5:41).

Satan may be strong, but Jesus is stronger.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Joe!
    From a fellow Italian OFS
    (Not sure if the other posted)