Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday in the 27th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Inside or Outside

Readings: Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2; Psalm 9:2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9; Luke 11:15-26

Some say the way something looks depends very much on where one is standing. If this is true, it might help to explain the rather strange situations described in our readings today. The first reading presents us with a puzzling description of the day of the Lord. On the one hand, we are told that it comes as ruin from the Almighty… a day of darkness and of gloom, a day of clouds and somberness! And yet, immediately after this, we are also told that the coming of this day will involve the advent of a people numerous and mighty, who will spread over the mountains like dawn. So which is it? Will the day of the Lord be ruinous or glorious? Will it come as the darkness or the dawn? Perhaps it depends on where we’re standing. It will look one way if we are standing within the household of God, if we are numbered among the people of the Lord. And it will look quite another way if we’re outside looking in.

We find something similar in the gospel. Here the day of the Lord comes in the person and ministry of Jesus. And yet, when he expels a demon, there are those who say that it is by the power of Beelzebul that he does this great work. So which is it? Does Jesus rely on the power of the prince or demons or on the finger of God? Again, how something looks depends on where one is standing. Quite obviously, it is those who are on the outside looking in, those who do not acknowledge Jesus as master and Lord, who view his ministry in a negative, even demonic, light.

And there’s more. From what Jesus says in the gospel, we learn that how something looks depends not only on whether we are outside looking in or inside looking out, but also on what is inside us. For to stand with Jesus, to commit our lives to following him, is to have his spirit within us. On the contrary, to shy away from Jesus is to run the risk of being inhabited by evil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

How something looks depends on where we are standing.

The day of the Lord is coming among us everyday. How does it look like to us? Where are we standing?

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