Friday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Father Patrick Butler, LC
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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are omnipotent, all-powerful. For that reason alone, I ought to ally myself to you. I believe that you can do all things. I am confident that you will act in my life. I love you because even though you are the all-powerful God, you are humble, having made yourself one like me, so that I can approach you without being intimidated, with trust.
Petition: Lord Jesus, your kingdom come in my soul!
- THE Sign from Heaven: When Jesus casts out a demon from a soul, some of the bystanders then ask him to perform a sign from heaven. Jesus is the sign from heaven, the living presence of God with us. His casting out a demon already testifies that he can do what no one else can do. It proves that he is God. However, I want to fix my eyes on him as the object of my love, not on the spectacular things that he does. It is important to look at the Giver, not the gift he gives.
- The Kingdom of God: There is combat going on, and the human soul is the battleground. In this case, the man is freed of demonic possession, and one kingdom has been dispossessed of its conquest. Another Kingdom is on the move! Light is replacing darkness. Springtime melts away the winter. This brings joy and warmth to my soul.
- The Gentle Guest: When the soul has been freed from the effects of evil, it can be likened to a tidy house. Jesus chose to clean the house, the interior dwelling place, of the possessed man. He will not, by his choice alone, take up the vacant place in that soul. He very much desires to be there, but he knocks and wants to be invited in freely by the homeowner. Once at home in my heart, Jesus is the strong man whom no one can overcome.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, I am not content just with being liberated from sin, although that is already a great gift. I know that you are knocking at the door of my heart. I ask you to come in and make my soul your dwelling place. I have been made to be a dwelling place of the Blessed Trinity, and I desire that fullness of life.
Resolution: I will be attentive to the fact that I am a dwelling of God and look to do what is worthy of that dignity. Specifically, I will be attentive to the thoughts that pass through my mind and the words that cross my lips today.