Good News for the Day, January 22, 2018
Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (317)
Educated people who had come from Jerusalem said about Jesus that, “He is possessed by ‘Beelzebul’—the Lord of Flies,” as well as “By the overlord of demons he controls driving out demons.” Summoning these opponents, he began to speak to them in pointed images, “How can a prosecutor (Satan) drive out another prosecutor-Satan? If a realm is divided against itself, that realm cannot continue. If a house or family is divided against itself, they will not be able to hold together. If a Satan has gotten himself opposing his own interest—and is somehow divided, he cannot continue; that’s it—the end of him. Nobody can get into a powerful man’s home to look his property until he first gets control of the powerful man. It is then that he can loot his house. Here’s the truth I’m telling you—every sin and blasphemy that people speak will be forgiven them. Anybody blaspheming against the interior life and conscience—the holy spirit—will never have forgiveness but becomes guilty of a permanent sin.” (Because people were saying about Jesus that He had an “unclean spirit.” (Mark 3)
All of us have a tendency—an instinct—to look down on differences, to judge someone as not as good as we are, as maybe wrong or mistaken, but somehow “bad,” or worthy of a rejection of some kind. All of us, I insist. In the end, it seems, it is a judgment about another person’s spirit—they did something wrong somewhere—a denial, a failure, a rejection, addiction or ignorance by choice that made them worthy of this judgment. We don’t go through all of this—it is quicker, more instinctive, more a flash of negative that burns out the light of welcome that we might other wise give a newcomer into our life.
Jesus says to look for the kindred spirit in someone. Expect that attitude you have. Do not expect a different one—though we are all different—it is not necessarily a “bad” or “impure,” or “flawed” spirit that makes them “bad.” If your hostile instinct meets their defensive instinct, you have Satan against Satan and no love will develop.
It is hard to overcome that permanent danger, and some suffer it to take possession of them—become the dominant force. Such people become unloved and unloving.
the Good News is the expectation that the other person has a good, welcoming spirit or attitude in them. We create a bond of love, not a defensive prosecution of someone. (A “Satan” is a “Prosecutor” in God’s realm—the one who looks for bad in people.) WE look for Good. WE expect it.