Reflection for Friday, October 9, 2009: 27th week in Ordinary Time.

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Mahowald, Paul
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"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?" Lk 11: 11-19||We are familiar with the several times the gospels have some sort of criticism of Jesus' healing and driving demons out of possessed people. In Luke's gospel, it is not the usual suspects, the scribes and Pharisees, that Jesus is responding to but rather to the crowd who witnessed the event. Some in the crowd say it is by Beelzebul that Jesus heals the man: others say it was to test him, to ask for a sign from heaven. Jesus counters by challenging them to answer his question: "If Satan is divided against himself how will his kingdom stand?"|The crowd then hears Jesus describe the two Kingdoms in the event: the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan.| "Whoever is not with me is against me . . . ." Luke 11:23| Jesus invites those who follow him to do so completely and without compromise. Our act of contrition in the sacrament of reconciliation states that we "firmly resolve, with the help of God's grace, to confess our sins, to do penance and to amend our life." This is the theme of Luke's gospel: that we wholeheartedly follow him as his disciples.|For those who seek a sign from heaven, Luke's gospel just ten verses earlier gives us Jesus' version of the Lord's prayer which ends with "and do not put us [God] to the test!"| How does this exorcism healing story apply to my life? Certainly I should not "test God", i.e., to presume that I have questionable and valid issues about how God is working with me. God is God and I am not! There is too often a sinful attitude of presumption when I don't trust God and over value my own judgment in how God works with me. I need to have that attitude that God is loving and working for me but in ways at times too mysterious for me to understand.|And for those who question from where Jesus gets his power and authority to heal others and rid them of the devils that inhibit them, we should trust in the Lord, have faith in him even if we don't understand. We should not judge others rashly for what they are doing as if they do it for selfish reasons. We should acknowledge "the finger of God" which is in the good works of others and not be so judgmental.|In this gospel story we see Jesus teaching us to see the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. We need to take up our cross and follow him - completely.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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