WEDNESDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Jer 7: 23-28; Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9; Lk 11: 14-23
In today’s gospel, we come across an evil spirit of dumbness. The devil desires to make man dumb, impeding him from praying to God, and from speaking about God. He desires to make man deaf, that he may not listen to God and obey his will. By this, the evil one seeks to close the heart of man to the love and goodness of God. He prompts man to follow the selfish dictates and desires of his own heart at the expense of Divine commandments. We are all in need of deliverance from some measure of spiritual dumbness and deafness.
Immediately after Jesus talks of the need to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 11:13) we see him casting out an evil spirit. The inspirations of the Holy Spirit and the temptations of the evil spirit are constantly ringing in our hearts. We need to ask ourselves at every moment whose voice we desire to obey. The presence of the evil spirit and its influence on human nature is a spiritual reality. Paul writes: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Eph 6:12). Peter warns: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Pet 5:8) Destroying evil was one of the fundamental purposes of Jesus’ incarnation (cf. 1 Jn 3:8). While God loves us and has a plan for our welfare, the devil hates us and has a plan for our destruction.
In the first reading, God speaks about how the Israelites had become ‘demon-possessed’ – disobedient to his commandments, stiff-necked and stubborn in heart, walking not forward but backward; they did not listen to God; they do not answer him. They are dumb and deaf in their relationship with God. In what areas of my life does the evil one wield his influence?
Response: O that today you would listen to his voice!
Harden not your hearts.
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