Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are called to believe in the Lord and entrust ourselves in His providence, as we ought to keep ourselves worthy and pure, free from sin and evil. All of us should remain true in our faith in God, and commit ourselves to Him and not to be easily swayed by those who sought to divide and destroy us, by sowing seeds of dissension and doubt in our midst.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Joel of the words of the Lord, which He spoke to His people Israel and according to historians, happened after the people of Israel had returned to their homeland after their exile in Babylon. What the Lord told His people at that time was a reminder of how they themselves had suffered earlier on from those who oppressed and conquered them, destroyed their cities and their homeland, bringing them into their exile.
And the Lord told His people that they ought to be prepared, steadfast and ready to face trials and challenges, as the time shall come when the forces of the evil one will be arrayed and assembled against us. All of us ought to remain steady in our faith and not be swayed by our fears and doubts that the enemy sought to spread among us that they hope to see us sundered from the love and protection of God. This is also where we then heard what happened at the time of the Lord Jesus and His confrontation with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who accused Him of colluding with Beelzebul, the prince of demons.
At that time, some of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had often been shadowing the Lord’s ministry, following Him wherever He went and witnessing all that He had done, the miracles and healing, the exorcisms that He performed before all the people. They had also heard His teachings and the truth which He had delivered from the Lord, and yet, instead of believing in Him as they should have done, they slandered Him and went against Him, accusing Him falsely of collusion with demons in performing His miracles and works, hoping that would discredit Him amongst the people of God.
Contextually, at that time, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were seen as the intellectual elites and the spiritual leaders and guides of the people, who were highly respected and even feared by many of the descendants of the Israelites, for their very strict and strong enforcement of the orthodox traditions of the Jewish cultural and religious practices, which were centred on the Law of God revealed through Moses, but with numerous excesses and flaws which led to the friction with the Lord Jesus when He came into this world bearing the true meaning and purpose of the Law of God.
As such, due to this rivalry and the jealousy which many among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had against the Lord Jesus, as He gathered and brought more and more people to His side as His disciples and followers, and the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law grew desperate and used the false accusation to try to discredit the Lord and His works, and to turn the people against Him. However, they made such an outrageous claim that in fact blasphemed against God, by accusing His works as the work of the devil.
Essentially, what those people claimed was that a prince of demons colluded with the Lord Jesus to cast out other demons, which was nonsensical as that would have meant that the evil spirits and demons were divided against each other in their efforts to attack mankind, all of us, God’s people. While those demons, who were fallen angels and spirits might have had their differences and disagreements, there is nothing that unites them more than in their desire to see about our downfall and destruction. Hence, not only that the accusations made by the Pharisees false, but they were outright wicked and blasphemous in nature.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, from what we have heard through the Gospel passage today, it is indeed sad to see how mankind can be so divided against one another in such a vicious manner, when ironically the evil and wicked spirits were much more united in their efforts against us. This is where all of us need to discard our ego, pride and greed, and resist the temptations that are present all around us. The Lord has called us all to put our trust in Him, and we should unite ourselves together to Him, and overcome all the divisions and disagreements we have between us.
Let us all not be divided any longer and let us all not be distracted by the numerous efforts by the wicked and evil spirits, Satan and all those enemies of the Lord who always seek to destroy us all. Let us commit ourselves to a new existence and life in God, and as a united community of the faithful, let us all do whatever we can to glorify the Lord at all times. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen each one of us to follow Him, and may He empower each one of us to walk ever more faithfully in His presence, now and always. Amen.