Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, 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 the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, 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 to 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 armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel we see Jesus confront evil and it causes great controversy. How often we see something similar play out in our own life: the temptation to avoid rocking the boat or ruffling feathers, even if it means enduring something that is wrong or unjust. “I do me, you do you” or “live and let live,” we might think. But “live and let live” just as easily becomes “live and let suffer” or even “live and let die.” Only 3 in 5 Americans believe the devil is real. Does that make it easier for us to turn away from forces of evil and causes of suffering?
Elie Wiesel, author and Holocaust survivor, insisted: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Jesus could have avoided words and actions that would lead to discord, but he refused to turn a blind eye to the work of the devil, knowing that it produces shame and stigma, conflict and division. The devil works through power that separates and subjugates, whereas God’s power is to reconcile and build up mutuality, equality, and love.
Put everything into the light, St. Ignatius advises. Otherwise deception and darkness will prevail. How can I use my voice and my actions to shine a light where there is darkness or mend what is broken in and around me?
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola