The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

Jesus and Beelzebul and the Unclean Spirit

Jesus and Beelzebul and the Unclean Spirit

Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In The Twenty-Seventh Week Of Ordinary Time

 

Luke 11: 15-26

In today’s gospel Jesus is accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan. The fact that Jesus performs miracles is not a problem but whether he does on the authority of a divine or diabolical power.  Jesus knows what is in their minds and he justifies himself with the images of the kingdom divided against itself and   one house that seeks to destroy the other one. Evil cannot be expelled by evil, for eventually the kingdom of Satan cannot persist. Moreover, Jesus refers to the other exorcists: on whose authority do they act? He calls on his listeners to consider his deeds of salvation through ‘God’s finger’ as a sign of the nearness of the Kingdom of God. Jesus emphasizes his justification with the image of the strong one in relation to the stronger one. The strong power of evil ( Beelzebul ) is overpowered by the stronger power of Jesus. 

The Jews believed that evil spirits preferred to live in the desert or, rather, that God had banished them there. Here Jesus is speaking of people who only believe for a while because they do not repent enough of their past sins. They enjoyed listening to the word, but they did not take the costly measures that would have allowed them to heal the root of evil. Those delivered of demons must be filled with the goodness of Jesus’ kingdom and seek a life of holiness. To benefit from his ministry without accepting his message leads to spiritual ruin. Jesus’ word stresses the fact that nobody can remain neutral in relation to his ministry. There are only two sides in God’s battle against Satan “those who are for Jesus and belong to God and those who are against Jesus who advance the cause of Satan, bringing violence to (scatters) the people (the Jews) who are meant to inherit the coming Kingdom.  Those who oppose him side with evil and sow discord among people.

It is not enough to repent evil and to be made “clean” again”. Conversion must be an on-going process in which we must be continually freed from our sins, renewed in turning back to God and sanctified by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives.

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