3rd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Jer 7:23-28
Thus says the Lord: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper. But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me. From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day, I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets. Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed; they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers. When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you. Say to them: This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.
Gospel 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.”
Edify each other: There is a story of two travelling monks. One assisted a well clad lady, carrying her across a small river. Continuing their journey, his companion, still shocked by the spontaneous act of his fellow monk kept haranguing him on how he is a disgrace to the Order and to the habit. The brother replied, “Brother! I left that woman at the bank of the river, are you still carrying her in your heart?” The enemies of Jesus resorted to malicious slander rather than honest opposition. They ascribed his power to cast out demons as coming from the devil. Such idle gossips is derogatory rather than complimentary. Might the devil be mortally destroying the church through such gossip. Such gossip is dangerous even to priests and to the leaders of the church. It emboldens and corrupts the unwary into thinking: Although am not a saint but am not as bad as so-and-so! Instead of building God’s Kingdom, we scatter.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to eschew idle gossip, help us in building the Kingdom of God by edifying our brothers and sisters. Amen!
GOD IS AT WORK: Appeals to hearing the Word of God and following it, is a constant message in our readings today. When we hear and follow God’s command, He grants us the power to do great things. This is the power that we see in Jesus when he does great things. Adamant towards God’s chosen one, the observers claim that Jesus is performing all by the power of the devil. They forget that Jesus casts out demons, not for personal claim for power, but rather in recognition of the Eternal power of God that is active in him. What makes us fail to see God’s power in others? What is it that makes us condemn others when we see as though they are doing better than we are doing. This is strong vice of jealous. As we engage with others each day, may we see God working in them.