23 But this command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.
25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; 26 yet they did not listen to me, or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
27 “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled.15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Be-elzebul, the prince of demons”;16 while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven.
17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-elzebul.
19 And if I cast out demons by Be-elzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; 22 but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.23 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
FIRST READING catalogue God’s frustration with His people in the aftermath of their escape from an evil dictatorship in Egypt.The Israelites became tone-deaf to the teachings and admonitions of the prophets, such that they made up their own rules that led to their evil heartedness and regress! The primary reason for the beleaguered state of the Isrealites were their obstinate refusal to walk in the way of the Lord and obey His commandments.
THE GOSPEL READING: Because Christ is gifted to scutinize the heart and mind of man, He wasted no time to challenge His audience who thought that His power to dispel evil, was derived from Be-elzebul the prince of Satan! Our Lord responded to the false premisis of His interlocutors by pointing out that if their thinking were true, then the temple priests are in cahoots with the devil when they performed exhorcisms on the Day of atonement during the rite of “Azazel” (Lev 16:8,10,26-27), when a goat–became an image of evil—is driven into the wilderness to atone for the sins of the people! Jesus notes that their conclusion erroneously pressupose that the devil will ultimately judge the people!
Christ sublimilarly point out that if God is the instrument who used Him to cast out demons, it implies that He is God incarnate! v20 With this said, Jesus brings to our attention the troubling consequences when a community is divided on matters of faith, belief, doctrines and form of worship. Regrettably there will aways be bishops, clergy and laity who knowing or unknowingly walk on both sides of the aisle—serving both the devil and Christ! From the outset of Christ’s mission He was confronted, questioned and challenged to the extent that He was sold out by one in His inner circle! We are cautioned to not allow secular authorities to use us as pawns to excecute their mandates that impinge the privacy and dignity of the person, bringing into question the moral teachings of Christ that may cause a divide and fall of the House of God!
LET US PRAY: Psalms 95:1-2,6-9
1 O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice! 8 Harden not your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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