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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11, 15-26

But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he drives devils out.'

Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven;

but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, 'Any kingdom which is divided against itself is heading for ruin, and house collapses against house.

So, too, with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom last?-since you claim that it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out.

Now if it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out, through whom do your own sons drive them out? They shall be your judges, then.

But if it is through the finger of God that I drive devils out, then the kingdom of God has indeed caught you unawares.

So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own home, his goods are undisturbed;

but when someone stronger than himself attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

'Anyone who is not with me is against me; and anyone who does not gather in with me throws away.

'When an unclean spirit goes out of someone it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, "I will go back to the home I came from."

But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied,

it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, and so that person ends up worse off than before.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has just freed a man possessed by a “mute” demon. Keeping someone from speaking means increasing that person’s loneliness, or at least making it harder to bear. Communication through the spoken word is one of the cornerstones of human life. Consequently, when this man was freed from the demon and began to speak, the people were astonished. But the evil spirit did not give up; if anything, it redoubled its resistance and opposition to Jesus and the Gospel. The entire story of Jesus and of his disciples of every age is a story of opposition and struggle against evil. In this case an attempt was made to free this man from being mute, that is, from not being able to communicate with others. We cannot help but think of the sad condition of a large part of humanity who cannot understand each other or communicate. Even as it gets easier and easier to share news and follow events halfway around the world in real time, it is still difficult for individuals, ethnic groups, and nations to communicate in a real way. Globalization has brought people closer together, but it has not made them more brotherly towards each other. Barriers to communication rise, and tensions and conflicts grow, sometimes to dramatic proportions. The prince of evil works to increase division and enmity. The Gospel continues to invite its disciples to be attentive and vigilant, not to fence themselves off, giving free reign to the demon of non-communication. Accusations and slanders against Jesus and his disciples are not uncommon. That is what the Pharisees did. But Jesus continues to urge us to see the fruits of his mission, and, we could add, those of his disciples and the Church through the centuries. These works of love give testimony to the presence of the “finger of God” in history. Jesus is the very presence of God in history. He is the one who is “stronger” than the “strong” evil one. Jesus enters his castle, defeats him, and disarms him. The castle of which the Gospel passage speaks is our heart, but it is also the Christian community, where love is stronger than evil. Whoever is blind to this love, takes the side of the enemy, or at least becomes its foolish servant. This is why Jesus says sternly, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” We must be vigilant. The fight against evil will be with us all our life. It is in this sense that people sometimes speak of Christianity as “agonic,” that is, as in a constant state of struggle. Jesus says that even if the “unclean spirit” has left, it will try to come back. Tragic is the fate of those who let evil back into their hearts out of laziness or an obsession with empty things. This time, Jesus says, “seven other spirits” will enter their hearts. And they will be worse off than they were before.

Memory of Jesus crucified