Good vs Evil … No Room for the Middle Ground

– Thursday Week 3 of Lent –

“Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 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.”  [Luke 11:14–16]

Here we get a glimpse of the cosmic dimension of Jesus’ mission….it is nothing short of the struggle between good and evil. Jesus states that casting out demons, as with all his miracles, is a sign of the kingdom of God coming close.

Here Jesus uses divine power, “the finger of God”, to cast out a demon who had caused a man to be mute. Yet some of those around him do not recognise his goodness and suspect that he is in league with the devil. Casting out a demon with the power of the father of demons is clearly a contradiction that Jesus points out. Still, his audience is incapable of accepting what he says, so intent are they on attacking Jesus. Again, he is misunderstood, and his goodness is doubted. This will continue in his public ministry up to and including his crucifixion.

The central issue here is the source of Jesus’ power; is it Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, or almighty God? In the battle between good and evil, there is no room to hesitate or hedge one’s bets. Jesus’ words force us off the middle ground. I am either for him or against him. Am I divided within myself, sometimes listening to Jesus and sometimes seduced by the voice of evil?

How do I participate in this battle with Jesus? It is through the conversion of my heart, in daily prayer and examen of conscience in Jesus’ company. I pay attention to my life and ask the Holy Spirit to make me increasingly sensitive to the evil in my immediate experience, to recognise it and cease to give it room.

Guard the heart, as a house is guarded, with a key. Then watch the heart, like a sentinel. How often do wicked thoughts, wicked intentions, jealousy, envy, enter in? (See Pope Francis, Homily, St Peter’s Basilica, October 5, 2014)


by Janiene Wilson

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