Friday, October 10 ~ Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Luke 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.”
Meditation: It is not enough to banish evil thoughts and habits from our lives. We must also fill the voids in our lives – “empty time” if you will – with God who is the source of all that is good, wholesome, true, and life-giving for us. Saint Augustine said that our lives have a God-shaped void which only God can fill satisfactorily. If we attempt to leave it vacant or to fill it with something else, we will end up being in a worse state in the end. So, what do you fill the void in your life with? The Lord Jesus wants to fill our hearts and minds with the power of his life-giving word and healing love. Jesus makes it very clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are ultimately only two kingdoms which stand in opposition to one another — the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness which is under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God’s word, we open the door to the power of sin and Satan. Thus our “house” must be occupied by Jesus.
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Jesus came to free us from the greatest danger of all — the corrupting force of evil which destroys us from within and makes us slaves to sin and Satan (ref. John 8:34). Evil is not an impersonal force that just happens. It has a name and a face and it seeks to master every heart and soul on the face of the earth (ref. 1 Peter 5:8-9). Scripture identifies the Evil One by many names – “Satan,” “Be-el’zebul—the prince of demons,” the “Devil,” the “Deceiver,” the “Father of Lies,” and “Lucifer” the fallen angel who broke ranks with God and established his own army and kingdom in opposition to God. Jesus declared that he came to overthrow the power of Satan and his kingdom (ref. John 12:31). Jesus overcame the Evil One through his obedience to the will of his Father; your obedience to God’s will can achieve the same triumph over Satan and all that is evil.
Prayer to Saint Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.