Daily Reflection – 1/28/19
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:22-30)
The gospel for today is very applicable to the current state of the world. Jesus’s questions speak directly to communities: how can a community divided against itself stand? Throughout the world, we are encountering the growth of populist ideologies. The cornerstone of all these movements is the setting of one group of people against another. To be successful, they must ferment distrust of one another or groups. To be successful, they must cause a person to believe that there are “groups” or peoples who seek to damage them. To be successful, they must convince their followers that there is a “we vs them” societal division which must be continually battled.
The price of all of this is that we fall into a habit of tearing each other down in order to build ourselves up rather than build others up to better our communities as a whole. As a result, we sometimes make decisions without truly thinking about others; we gossip, cheat, lie, we repeat half-truths, we bring others down in order to “better” ourselves. The end result is that we are weakening our human community and falling prey to Evil.
Jesus’ teaching challenges us all to come together as humans. If we are separated, if we are divided from one another, then we cannot grow and improve.
Not only do we as a community have to build each other up, but we need to begin building ourselves up. Too often we tear ourselves down – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many people have this idea in their mind that they just aren’t good enough Yes, all of us have characteristics of ourselves that we don’t love, but we are still beloved children of God. If we truly want to be the best versions of ourselves, we must learn to accept ourselves as we are. Just as a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, a human who constantly brings him or herself down simply cannot grow. We must first love ourselves in order to allow ourselves to grow.
Prayer of The Day
Lord God help me to see your love in me. Help me to always hold on to the belief that I reflect you. Protect me from the evil that seeks to separate me from others. Help me to recognize that by walking hand in hand with my brothers and sisters, we can bring about your kingdom on earth.
Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest famous for his books on spirituality, encouraged people to ignore the constant pressure to change which placed on us by society. Instead, he said: “Don’t change to please others. The only growth-promoting change is that which comes from self-acceptance and seeing yourself as a source of love and compassion.”