March 3, 2016
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
The good news for the Day
Jesus freed a man mute from a “demon”; when the condition disappeared, and the mute man spoke, the public was impressed. Some of them, though, complained, “By the demonic influence of Beelzebul, the one in control of such powers—that is how he fixes such conditions.” (Luke 11, 14-15)
Consider what “demons” are. You fail to see how the ancient experience of a demon reflects some experience in your life today. We “demonize” demons, into “Exorcist” movies and illustrations from childhood Bibles.
“Demon” was their catch-all generalization for powers, conditions, addictions, and illnesses which take control of human lives. Demons are real, yes, and need to be “cast out”—overcome and removed from our lives. You see demons, but as more rational and scientific folks you label these powers by names like cancer, drug abuse, depression, Alzheimer’s and insanity—but their control over humans—ancients titled “demons.”
The point in the Gospel is how the public’s expresses contempt and even resistance to the power of goodness over such demons. You do something good—truthful and courageous—to free someone from a horrific, overwhelming and harmful condition. You help them accept, you give them the strength to fight it, you are there for them and they “overcome” it. You “cast out” the power fear and anger have—so that they reach a calm victory over its grip on them. The cancer and addictions and failures are still there—but the person is strong in spirit–stronger than the cancer.
People criticize you for helping troubled people. Society resents felons or “recovering alcoholics.” Corporations resist inventions that cut profits. Politicians oppose care-taking efforts. Many would lock up addicts and homeless people. Your Good News suffers criticism—accusing, shaming you—“you are all wrong, a “moron,” and “you’re just wasting your time.”