Oct 9 2020 Reflection
Friday 9 October 2020
First Reading: GAL 3:7-14
The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel Reading: LK 11:15-26
Today’s Note: Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”
It is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:7)
In a perfect family, children would have total confidence in their parents’ love. Of course, we know that there is no perfect family—except for the Holy Family—and some families fall far short of the ideal. Abusive parents, broken marriages, violent environments—these can make children suspicious of the people who truly are trying to love them. They’ve been hurt in the past, so they’ve learned to be wary: I hear you saying you love me, but how can I be sure? Some of them think that love can never be given freely, that they have to do something to earn it instead.
Something similar seemed to be going on with the Christians in Galatia. St. Paul had preached the good news of God’s salvation and unconditional love to them, and their lives had been changed dramatically by the Holy Spirit. But despite all that, they began to believe that the Jewish rite of circumcision was a criterion for belonging to Christ (Galatians 3:2-3). This concerned Paul. They had received the free gift of salvation and new life in the Holy Spirit, but they were now making circumcision a condition, a block in the way of receiving God’s love.
Although we don’t look to circumcision to make us children of God, we can be skeptical of God’s free gift of love in other ways. We’re tempted to believe that he has placed conditions on his love and grace: God will only love me after I’ve fixed myself. God is probably disappointed with me and won’t answer my prayers. These “requirements” reveal our doubt that God could really love us.
Paul wanted the Galatians to accept God’s unconditional love for them. He wanted them to understand that God’s love is not based on circumcision, moral perfection, or any other requirements. God just loves us, and he asks us to respond by putting our faith in him.
Imagine the freedom and relief we could all feel if we were convinced that we didn’t need to win God over. We don’t need to earn his love. He loved us before we were even born.
Through this saving love, God has made you his son or daughter. There is no catch.
“Lord, thank you for your unconditional love for me!”