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The Good News for the day, March 8, 2018

Thursday of the Third Week of Lent (240)

Jesus was freeing a mute man from his affliction, and, when the power making him silent had left him, the mute man spoke, and the crowds were awestruck. Some of them, though, were saying, “By the influence of ‘Beelzebul’—the Prince of Demons—he drives out demons.” Others, to catch him, asked him for some sign from heaven. Jesus, however, knew what they were thinking; He said back to them, “Every realm divided against itself will be devastated; house will fall against house. If the devilish opposition to God—Satan—is divided against itself, how will his realm stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out these diabolic influences by Beelzebul—by whom do your own folks drive them out? So—they will be your judges. If it is by the finger of God, though, that I drive out these bad things, well, then, the Other World has been coming upon you Whenever a strong man well-prepared guards his home, his possessions are safe, but when somebody stronger than that one+ attacks and overcomes him, he takes away  any protection the man has relied on and does whatever he wants with the possessions. Anybody not with me is against me, and anybody not gathering with me is scattering.” (Luke 11)

This passage reminds of the dividing line between good and evil, the forces of God, on the one hand, and the forces of chaos and harm on the other. We are for gathering, bringing people together; “they” are for scattering, dividing people from one another.

Someone who follows Jesus stands for a habit of kindness—no matter the cost, for healing personally the heart-broken and lonely, for helping saints as well as sinners—and for a courage to act in defiance of fear.

Following Jesus, knowing we are loved, and reckless in the faith we have for our Father—we accept His world—changing it not to impose “my” view, but to listen and aid others—not to obey ideological convictions, but to benefit others. Following Jesus means accepting the way of the Cross—accepting attacks, persecution and humiliation for defying the “way we have always done it”—to replace it with caring love, willing to accept consequences—challenging inhumanity, popular cruelty and indifference to need. We do not scatter, we seed the world; we do not divide people, we nurture love. Evil is strong, shrewd and divisive; we are a community of love.

The Satan—the “challenger”—wants to shut down loving community. Demonic forces divide people from one another, oppose helping the poor, the needy, the afflicted, and the lost (“our kind”)—and tend to say, “My way or the highway.” We say, however: “My way” is “OUR way.” Again: we are a community of lovers!

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