The crowds have seen Jesus perform healings and many other miracles. Yet, when they see Jesus drive out a demon, they respond that Jesus must be able to do this from some demonic power inside himself. Jesus responds to them, saying: “For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out?”
Jesus challenges the crowd: “If Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” We can see in the reality of our world today that what Jesus says is true. There are two kingdoms present in the world today. Bishop Donald Trautman, the retired bishop of Erie, Pennsylvania, who gave the presentations at our bi-annual diocesan convocation this past week at Christ the King parish in Southaven, called the reality of our society today “secular, critical times.” This is in contrast to the Kingdom of God that we are to proclaim to the world as Christians. Yes, whoever is not with Jesus is against him; whoever does not gather with him scatters. Jesus invites those of us who follow him to do so completely & without compromise. Our act of contrition in the sacrament of reconciliation states that we “firmly resolve, with the help of God’s grace, to confess our sins, to do penance and to amend our life.” This is the theme of Luke’s gospel passage today: that we are to wholeheartedly follow Jesus as his disciples, without reservation and without caveat.
Jesus expelled demons in today’s Gospel. How do we turn to God to expel those things that are the demons in our own lives? How to we turn away from things that are leading us astray and that are tempting us to go down the wrong path? We know in our hearts that we cannot do this on our own – only with Jesus' help will our continuing process of repentance and conversion be successful. Only then can we be true disciples.