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 armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. ‘When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting-place, but not finding any, it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.’
Today is Friday the 11 October, in the 27th week of Ordinary Time.
Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, sing “joyful light” from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers. “Joyful light of the holy glory of the immortal one.” As I look around me now, can I sense that light, that holy presence here, and invite God’s joyful light into my life?
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
It isn’t common to think in terms of demons and evil spirits these days, except in horror films. But this isn’t about Hallowe’en. It’s about the inner drives and destructive compulsions that can dominate our lives and prevent us from flourishing. Wherever they come from, these are real and can leave us sorely tested.
Jesus throws down a challenge to those who doubt his power – he doesn’t mince his words. Can you imagine this scene? Jesus finds himself confronted by people who believe he’s a fake, who think he makes no difference in the fight against evil, or even that he contributes to it. He defends himself vigorously. There’s tension, even aggression in their words and their body language. How do you respond to this?
As the words bring this scene to life again, watch Jesus and listen to him as he speaks. Do some of his words or images linger? How do you find yourself reacting to his teaching? Perhaps it raises questions for you, or a particular response.
Are you aware of an area of your life where you need his grace and power? Or perhaps in the lives of those you love, or in the world at large. Take a moment to speak to him about what’s in your heart.