Reflection for Monday, January 24, 2022: 3rd Week of Ordinary Time.

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Maynard, Angela
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|Today's gospel opens with the scribes accusing Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul.  Jesus responds by speaking in parables:|"How can Satan drive out Satan?|If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.|And if a house is divided against itself,|that house will not be able to stand.|And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,|he cannot stand;|that is the end of him.|But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property|unless he first ties up the strong man.|Then he can plunder his house.|Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies|that people utter will be forgiven them.|But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit|will never have forgiveness,|but is guilty of an everlasting sin."|For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."|As I reflect on this passage, I'm alarmed by the mention of Satan.  I'm reminded that Satan is a powerful force and is often disguised making it difficult to realize he is always at work.  This is so true, but scary if I really think about it.  I find some comfort as I read further and understand that no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man.  Perhaps if I focus on my faith and keep it strong while nurturing my relationship with Jesus I will realize some protection from Satan and his works.  We are reminded that sinners will be forgiven.  Isn't it amazing to truly to realize the unconditional love Jesus has for us? |As I write this, I am spending time with some close family friends who are nearing the end of life on this earth.  My Catholic faith teaches us to pray for their souls — so I've been doing a lot of that.  As I think about today's gospel, while I pray for these friends I also realize that they are loved and forgiven.  I shift my prayers to those they leave behind, those who suffer incredible grief and must learn to live without their love one's physical presence.  I pray that through this time of pain and grief they feel the tender embrace of Jesus and hold on to their faith.  I pray that they feel the love of their friend, Jesus. I hope that I can serve as a messenger of the love our Father has for these families.|Let's take some time today to think about the ways Satan may be acting in our life.  Satan may be working overtime, especially when people are more susceptible to evil influence — maybe during times of struggle.  Consider faith and friendship with Jesus.  Is our faith strong enough to weather the work of Satan?  Do we really feel the presence of Jesus in good times and through challenges?  Let's quietly ask our friend Jesus to stay with us and to guide and protect us every day no matter what. That's what friends do.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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