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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Thursday of the Third Week of Lent - Reading the Signs

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Readings: Jeremiah 7:23-8, Psalm 95, Luke 11:14-23.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing! How often we use this phrase to admit our blindness to the people and events that have shaped our lives. Sometimes missing or misreading such events causes us the loss of something we can never fully reclaim; ‘If only I had been able to see at the time! If only I had noticed!’ At other times it seems that we are shaped by events regardless of our appreciation of them; ‘well, looking back, it seems to all fit into place now.’

There can be many reasons for our blindness, from being ‘too busy to see’ to outright prejudice, and we learn from today’s Gospel that little has changed. Jesus is among the people, and drives out from one of them a demon, restoring the victim’s speech. It is not an everyday occurrence admittedly, and the crowds are ‘amazed’. One would think that upon seeing such a powerful sign all scepticism and disbelief in Jesus would vanish, but far from it. As soon as the demon is driven out, the crowds begin to mutter; "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons." Others ask for yet another sign: just to make sure, you understand…

This blindness, and the testing of Jesus, might well seem to us counter-intuitive – ah, the benefit of hindsight. But can we really blame these people for their stance when we commit the same folly today? Jesus seeks to reassure them and point out the error in their reasoning. Would one from the devil really seek to cast out the devil? If the Jewish exorcists claim to work by God’s power, why should they doubt Jesus’ ability to do the same? Jesus is patient in his teaching but the lines are being drawn; some are beginning to see the work of Jesus for what it really is, the work of God as Man among them, but others are blinded by prejudice and arrogance. ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’

So, is this blindness from which we suffer, insurmountable? Well, we must remember that God asks nothing from us of which we are not capable. He knows our weakness and our folly. We, however, must do our best to see with the eyes of faith. We must learn that if we are to find our ultimate end and purpose in Christ, we must be alert to the signs around us. We must be attentive to the Word of God as it is mediated to us; through the events and people around us. We must not be blinded by our worldly affairs and concerns, or by hardheartedness and prejudice. The season of Lent is an apt time to take stock of our situation in life; to try to see with the eyes of faith and discern God’s presence and his call among all the varied people and events of our lives. If we do this, then by his grace, he will drive out the demons and restore us to himself.

Graham Hunt OP

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