Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Galatians 3:7-14; Luke 11:15-26)
There is a story about a monk named Fr. Moses. Fr. Moses was having a particularly hard time keeping lustful thoughts at bay. He went to the wise, old Fr. Isidore for help. He told the elder that he could stand it no longer, that he should leave the monastery. Fr. Isidore took him outside to see the night sky. He told Fr. Moses to look west. The young monk looked there and saw a great number of devils whooping it up for battle. Then Fr. Isidore told him to look at the eastern sky. There Fr. Moses saw a countless host of angels. Fr. Isidore said that this was the help God sends to his holy ones to defend them from evil spirits. It is like the strong man who overtakes the guard of the palace in Jesus’ parable today.
Jesus is repudiating the charge of his critics that he casts out a demon by invoking an evil spirit. He implies that the charge is absurd because one evil spirit will not harm another. Jesus claims that he can cast out demons because he has the power of God which is greater than that of any demon. But he warns that a demon can return to a person to make matters worse if he or she only makes superficial changes. The person must undergo a radical change of life if demons are going to be kept away.
We should not doubt the possibility of having our sins forgiven, be they having to do with sex or with justice. Nor should we doubt the possibility of committing those same sins again if we do not change our ways. We must avoid the things that lead us into temptation and pray constantly for God’s help.