Thursday 24 March 2022 of the 3rd week of Lent
These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets. But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”
Psalm 94 O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’
Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil. ‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.’
Jeremiah’s warning to Israel is the result of their stubbornly worshipping gods other than the Lord their God. Forgetting the Lord, they were divided against themselves. No wonder the Babylonians could easily overtake them and carry them off into exile.
In the Gospel account, Jesus also points out the foolishness of those who argued his authority came from Beelzebul. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed. So, Jesus says, “He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
I recall hearing from a wise man in India, that when a person loses the sharpness of their focus, when clarity is lost, then strength is also lost. We know in discernment that great energy is released when the discerner finds interior freedom and clarity of purpose. There are many stories of people facing difficulties, who come through their challenges because they remain focused on God’s presence, and hopeful that God is with them in adversity.
Despite the many times in our lives when we encounter difficulties, let us always return our gaze to the point of God’s presence. In this do we find our strength and our peace.
L’avvertimento di Geremia a Israele è il risultato della loro ostinazione nell’adorare divinità diverse dal Signore loro Dio. Dimenticando il Signore, erano divisi contro se stessi. Non c’è da meravigliarsi che i Babilonesi potessero facilmente sorprenderli e portarli in esilio.
Nel racconto del Vangelo, Gesù sottolinea anche la stoltezza di coloro che sostenevano che la sua autorità veniva da Beelzebul. Finché un uomo forte e armato di tutto punto sorveglia il suo palazzo, i suoi beni sono indisturbati. Quindi, Gesù dice: “Chi non è con me è contro di me; e chi non raccoglie con me disperde”.
Ricordo di aver sentito dire da un saggio in India, che quando una persona perde la nitidezza della sua attenzione, quando si perde la chiarezza, allora si perde anche la forza. Nel discernimento sappiamo che una grande energia si sprigiona quando il discernitore trova la libertà interiore e la chiarezza di intenti. Ci sono molte storie di persone che affrontano le difficoltà e le superano perché rimangono concentrate sulla presenza di Dio e sperano che Dio sia con loro nelle avversità.
Nonostante le molte volte nella nostra vita in cui incontriamo delle difficoltà, riportiamo sempre il nostro sguardo al punto della presenza di Dio. In questo troviamo la nostra forza e la nostra pace.