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BEWARE THE SOWER OF DISUNITY

Father Francis's picture
Third Week of Lent

Jer. 7:23-28 & Lk. 11:14-23

Ever since Satan first appeared in the Garden of Eden his favourite weapon has been disunity. Where God had planted harmony, love and wholeness, Satan sowed dissatisfaction, envy and division. He caused strife between Adam and Eve, and separated them both from that perfect happiness which God had created for them.

Jesus came to restore our world to wholeness and unity. In the Gospel story we see Him casting out a devil and giving back to a dumb man the power of speech. Immediately, Satan retaliated by causing dissension. He put into the minds of some of the bystanders the suggestion that Jesus might actually be in league with Him! Jesus pointed out to them the absurdity of this idea because Satan has no interest in promoting health and happiness; if Jesus had used Satan's weapons, the result would have been destruction, not healing.

Nowadays the idea of demoniac possession seems rather unfamiliar to us. Nevertheless, we would be very foolish to think that the Devil is becoming less active. He is still at work, in the same old way, dividing people from each other and from God. He stirs up conflict between nations, and civil war within nations. He divides families, causing the anguish of envy and divorce. He sows the seeds of heresy and falsehood, dividing the Christian Church. He gets inside our minds, tempting us with the idea that evil is somehow acceptable.

Satan is a very powerful force, not to be underestimated. Wherever he can sow the seeds of disorder he will. When we see so much evil around us we may be tempted to despair - that's just what Satan would like us to do. In the Gospel reading, Jesus has words of encouragement. He is the stronger man who attacks and defeats Satan, and takes away his weapons. Jesus began the attack on Calvary, and weakened Satan's power, but His final triumph will be achieved at His second coming. Until then, we must remain faithful to Jesus, trusting in His power to lead us to safety.

In the first reading we see how Satan hardened the hearts of the Jews. They would not listen to the prophets God sent them. But through Jeremiah let us remember what God said to the people of Israel, “Listen to My voice, then I will be your God and you will be My people. Follow right to the end the way that l mark for you and you will prosper.”

Lord Jesus, may we listen to Your voice which will always bring harmony, joy and peace to our lives, and not to the voice of Satan who sows the seeds of disunity and unhappiness.

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