Daily Readings Reflection for 3/19/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 3/19/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings


Scripture: Thurs. of 3rd week of Lent. Jeremiah 7:23-28. Psalm
95:1-2.6-7.8-9. Luke 11:14-23. Lectionary # 241:

Jesus performs a powerful exorcism over a demon who has made this
poor victim dumb or speechless.  The exorcism is immediately effective, but
Jesus is now meeting more opposition from those who are following him and
scrutinizing his ministry.  They tell him he does this through the ” Lord
of the flies or heavens, Beelzebub). That is absolutely false and thus not
only has the demon been expelled but Jesus now confronts those who speak
falsely about him and the power of God worked through him.  He is preaching
the power of God’s kingdom which is upon them but they refuse to see it,
just as the did not understand the sign of Jonah nor the sign of
resurrection that has been mentioned in his preaching.  Matthew has the
same account but also includes a blind man.  He however gives us a key to
the expression “finger of God” that Luke uses for this power that Jesus
has.  Matthew says it is by the power of the Spirit that Jesus can perform
signs, wonders, and exorcisms. The kingdom of God is near for those who are
open to Jesus.   Jesus tells them and us, “..it is by the finger of God
that I cast out devils…the reign of God is upon you.”

Some of the bystanders are amazed but others are in opposition to
Jesus.  We are being led by Luke to see both Christological concerns of
Luke as well as the requirements of discipleship.  Since we are in the long
journey narrative we discover what Luke means by discipleship in these nine
chapters of the journey.  Jesus is God’s word spoken in truth. From the
Gospel of John we learn that Jesus is also the way, the life, and the
truth.  If anyone can conquer Satan it is the truthful one who overcomes
the “father of all lies”, the devil.   The struggle Jesus has against
demons, sins, and death continues down to today, but during this season of
Lent we realize that Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection are the power
that overcomes sin, evil, and death.  By our discipleship and union with
Jesus on the journey with us we have great confidence and hope that his
victory will also be ours.

The other readings urge us to be attentive listeners to the words of
truth spoken by Jesus and the prophet Jeremiah.  We can have as a Lenten
reminder the following words of Psalm 95: “If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.”  Jeremiah speaks directly for God for some forty
one years.  “From the numerous personal and biographical references in the
book of Jeremiah there emerges the picture of the most tragic of all the
Israelite prophets. Of an essentially tender and lyrical disposition, his
soul was torn between love for his people and the dire compulsion  of his
prophetic mission (which he tried to refuse) to announce doom and
destruction. The inescapable call to prophecy, like “burning fire” in his
bones, turned into intense anguish and profound despair as a result of the
apparaent failure of his mission….and he was persecuted, imprisoned, and
almost put to death. His personal career adds an individual  depth to his
prophecy, which reaches its climax in the message of the new covenant which
God will engrave upon men’s hearts.” (The Encyclopedia of the Jewish
Religion, p. 210).  No wonder Jeremiah was seen as a type for Jesus.  Amen.

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