Prince of demons
March 8, 2018
Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Jer 7:23–28
Gospel: Lk 11:14–23
One day Jesus was driving out a dumb demon. When the demon had been driven out, the mute person could speak, and the people were amazed. Yet some of them said, “He drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” So others wanted to put him to the test by asking him for a heavenly sign.
But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your fellow members drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.
“But suppose I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as the strong and armed man guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger one attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on and disposes of his spoils.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me, scatters.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The word “Beelzebul” comes from Baalzebul, the name given to the innumerable local gods controlling the fertility of the soil and domestic animals of Canaan. A corruption of the term by the Hebrews eventually associated the term with a dunghill. In those days a dunghill was playfully referred to as lord of the flies. The Hebrews later used this insulting term on the devil. When the Jews used it on Jesus they did so for no other reason than to insult him.
Jesus faced them squarely on this. He asked: “If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your fellow members drive out demons?” They were trapped. If they insisted on their theory that Jesus could have no other source of power than Beelzebul, they would be forced to admit that their ancestors too were casting out evil spirits by the same power. But that would make them descendants of Beelzebul’s agents! Their best option was to keep mum.
Their theory was flawed from the start. By attributing Jesus’ power to the devil they were in effect installing the devil as the only source of supernatural power. In one syllogism Jesus exposed their intellectual ineptness. But they were too proud to stand corrected. They chose to continue hovering outside the domain of truth like restless flies with no dunghill to land on. Beelzebuls!
Pride is sanitized stupidity, a front to cover up intellectual ineptness. To the humble alone God will infuse wisdom. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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