Thursday, March 3, 2016
Reflection: Luke 11:14-23
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent - Luke 11:14-23
This Gospel opens with Jesus driving the demon out of a man who was mute. Quite naturally, the crowds were amazed at the healing power of Jesus. However, some of his critics believed that he was able to do this only through the power of Beelzebub, the “prince of demons.” What was it about Jesus that gave them this idea? Jesus healed the sick, comforted the mourning, taught about love for God and one another.
Were his critics afraid of him? We know from the Gospels that the Pharisees were watching Jesus constantly. Were they concerned that Jesus was gaining too much popularity with the people? Were they worried that they might lose their power with the people? Were they hoping that he would break Jewish law and thus give them good cause to criticize him?
How sad it is that the Pharisees would not give Jesus a chance. From the very beginning they were frightened of Jesus and rejected him. Did they truly believe that Jesus was in league with Beelzebub or were they trying to ruin Jesus’ reputation because of their jealousy of his popularity with the people. No matter what Jesus did, his actions were wrong and sinful in the Pharisees’ eyes.
Take a moment and ask yourself: Who is a person in your life with whom you struggle? Who is it you dismiss or perhaps reject at times? What is it they do or don’t do that triggers this reaction in you? I am sure we all have at least one person who irritates us. It may be someone who gets on our nerves and we are irritated when they are around us or it might be an individual who has hurt, criticized, or ignored us at some point.
No matter what the situation is, Jesus continually challenges us to be open and loving with others — ALL others! As we know, this is not an easy call. However, if we profess to be followers of Jesus, then we must follow in his footsteps, even when it is difficult or challenging. Today may we pray for one another. Let us support each other with prayer, asking Jesus to give each of us the grace we need when we see someone coming down the hall whom we would prefer not to encounter. Hopefully, if we strive to do this, the people who struggle with us may sense a difference in us and experience an authentic welcome rather than a “token hello.”
We all have heard the question: “What would Jesus do?” Today if we get irritated or angry, may we pause for a moment and simply breathe in the presence of Jesus for a few seconds. If we do this, Jesus will help us respond with love.