Homily for Monday of 3rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: Inner Demons
Stormy Night on Mediterranean Sea, near Tel Aviv
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Gospel – Mark 3:22-30
One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “which wolf wins?…”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed”
Most historians believe that today’s Gospel reading was the basis for Abraham Lincoln’s “a house divided against itself cannot stand” speech. He had just been nominated as President by his party and he was facing a country divided between slave and free, between political parties. I think you can see the connection! Some of the people in the crowd accuse Jesus of being in league with the devil because he cast out demons from a mute. Jesus’s response? “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” We only have to look at our world and our nation and see far too many examples of communities in disarray, countries and even families torn apart by and divided in belief and opinion.
Let’s face it – this has been a rough 22 months dealing with this pandemic, this unseen enemy. At times it has drawn out of us our worst fears and our basest instincts. We’ve been demoralized and despondent; we’ve felt abandoned and afraid for ourselves and our loved ones. Sometimes we have bottled up all those difficult emotions inside ourselves trying to be strong for ourselves and our family. Other times we let those demons out and we bang our heads and our fists against the wall in anger and frustration. And we take out that frustration on those around us. We see that ‘house divided” not just between family and friends but too often deep inside ourselves. At times, we give in to the demons inside us or we fail to confront the demons around us.
And then there are the times when we feel the presence of the Divine, the Spirit spreading His wings over us to protect us. There are those days that we felt uplifted. Those times when we looked back and realized we could not have survived the day without the grace of God.
We hear it in today’s Gospel. It is not by Satan that Jesus drives out demons; it is by the power of God. It is the “finger of God” that dispels our fears and anxieties. And it is our faith in God that centers us and brings us through to a new day.
Great Spirit, be with us today and every day! Shelter us, guide us and protect us from the evil within and without!
Deacon Bill Frere