Third Week of Lent - Thursday
Reading: Luke 11:14-23
Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Be-el′zebul, the ruler of the demons”; Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-el′zebul. And if I cast out demons by Be-el′zebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted, and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not with me scatters.’
This Gospel passage reminds us that Jesus’ life and ministry always brought life and wholeness to the people whom He met restoring speech to the dumb man, sight to the blind and mobility to the lame. (Matthew 11:5) All actions were done through the power of God working through him and He gave glory to his Father for these works; ‘Those who speak on their own seek their own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.’ (John 7:18) We too will receive life and wholeness when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and on his teaching, however, our lives will bear no fruit if we are not part of the vine of God. (John 15:5)
The prayer of Jesus's heart is that all people be one and share in the unity that he has with his father; ‘As you Father are in me and I am in you’ (John 17:2) This prayer has never been more needed than in our world today; war, divisions and hatred destroy the lives and hopes of so many people and grieve the heart of God. During this Lenten season, we desire to unite our prayer with the prayer of Jesus so that all be may be one with one another and with his heavenly Father. It is a period of conversion and renewal; Jesus desires to give us the grace to return to him, to be renewed and to be healed. This promise too was made known to the prophet Jeremiah, ‘when you search for me you will find me; if you will seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord.’ (Jeremiah 29:13)
By our baptism we are invited to share the Good News with all people and through prayer and fasting, cast out the devils that exist in our society today; the evils of pornography, child exploitation, peoples’ involvement with the occult and all forms of violence. We are invited to be labourers in his harvest, so that none may be scattered but gathered into God’s harvest and share in the joys of His kingdom. (Matthew 9:37)
Prayer Loving Father, I thank you for my baptism,
for your inviting to witness to you in the world.
I thank you for your Son, Jesus, Finger of God. May all come to know you,
worship and give you glory,
this day and always, Amen.