Scattering with Beelzebul or Gathering with Christ, Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, October 11, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. John the Baptist Church, Winslow, Maine (Corpus Christi Parish, Waterville)
Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of Blessed John XXIII
October 11, 2013
Jl 1:13-15.2:1-2, Ps 9, Lk 11:15-26

To listen to an audio recording of the homily, please click here: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • Today we focus on the main thrust of the work of the devil — to divide — and the main thrust of Jesus’ work, which is to save us and sanctify us by bringing us into communion with God and in Him with others.
  • Today Pope Francis in his homily in the Vatican stressed three points. First, we see that the existence of the devil is clearly shown in Jesus’ own words and interactions. He wasn’t curing an epileptic, but exorcising demons. We need to recognize that the devil exists and that Jesus is the stronger man who has come to defeat him. Second, Jesus stresses that we can’t follow him half-way, half-heartedly. We’re either gathering with him or scattering. If the devil can’t get us totally to turn our back on the Lord, he’ll have us do so partially. Third, once he’s cleansed us of the devil, which he often does in baptism and in the Sacrament of Penance, the devil seeks to come back with many others as the Gospel describes. So we need to be vigilant. We need to work on our unity with Jesus the “Stronger Man.” Jesus comes to defeat the devil, to unite us to him, and to make us alert.
  • Today we celebrate the feast day of Blessed John XXIII who died 50 years ago this Year. His feast is not June 3, the day he died (Charles Lwanga and companions), but October 11, the day he responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to convene the Second Vatican Council. Throughout his ministry, he sought to unite us to Christ: to unite the Church through the Council to respond to the challenges of living and preaching the faith in the modern world; to unite the world with his encyclicals, especially during the challenges of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War; the family, constantly seeking to help them learn how to love each other in practical ways. We ask his intercession today that we might have that union in faith on this first anniversary of the beginning of the Year of Faith.
  • The great work of gathering us to Christ, of uniting us in communion, happens here at Mass where Jesus seeks to make us one body, one spirit with Him and others. It’s here that we receive the help we need to defeat the devil’s attempted sabotage of our lives. It’s here that we remember each day with joy that we are the disciples of the one who has defeated the devil and conquered even death and sin.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
JL 1:13-15; 2:1-2

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD!Alas, the day!
for near is the day of the LORD,
and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all who dwell in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming;
Yes, it is near, a day of darkness and of gloom,
a day of clouds and somberness!
Like dawn spreading over the mountains,
a people numerous and mighty!
Their like has not been from of old,
nor will it be after them,
even to the years of distant generations.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 9:2-3, 6 AND 16, 8-9

R. (9) The Lord will judge the world with justice.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.

Gospel
LK 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”