We heard in the Gospel for today’s Mass the scribes uttering, “He is possessed by Beelzebul.” Jesus, in response, asks the question whether Satan can long stand if his house is divided. In other words, Jesus points out that he, Jesus, does holy work, the work of the Father who sent him into this world. In doing so, he points out the utter ridiculousness of the scribes’ assertion because Jesus’ work is:
1. Either work that demands faith for He does what the Father asks of him, or
2. It is Satan working against himself.
The second was impossible; the former was being brought into reality before their very eyes. It was work that was unmistakably divine.
Satan is very good at taking what is holy and good and subtly suggesting that it is evil, and then taking what is evil and planting the idea that it is good. He is very skilled at this, for he is the father of lies.
My friends, take a look at the circumstances of the world today. So often we find, don’t we, that the evils of war, abortion, euthansia, consumerism, egoism, relativism and paganism are made to be good and holy things. Society speaks of them in this way. The predominate manner used by Satan in our contemporary world to deceive us is two-fold:
1. Truth is determined by the individual’s subjective interests and tastes.
2. God is a fussy, competitive being that restricts our freedom.
Now, these are the same two methods Satan used in the Garden of Eden. Go ahead and read the account in Genesis.
We Christians, especially we deacons and other clergy, need to find a new way of talking about God to the world. God is not a competitive being that we bump up against and restricts us. No. God is He who grounds us; He who fulfills us; He to whom we are drawn. He is freedom.
We need to find new ways of telling the world that truth’s objectivity is not an “opium of the people” but rather the fulfillment of our deepest desire, i.e, to know the truth and after knowing it, to pursue it anew with renewed vigor.
Far from possession by Beelzebul, Jesus is the revelation of God. He is the splendor of the Father in the power of the Spirit.