3rd Sunday of Lent – Healing of the Mute Possessed by the Devil
My eyes are ever towards the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare: look Thou upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. Psalm. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed.
Be attentive, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, to the prayers of Thy servants, and stretch forth the arm of Thy divine Majesty in our defence.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians, Chap. V
Brethren: Be ye followers of God, as most dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God, for an odour of sweetness. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becomed saints; or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know ye this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person, which is serving of idols, has inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.
Reflexion on the Epistle
The apostle, speaking to the faithful of Ephesus, reminds them how they once were darkness; but now, he says, ye are light in the Lord. Hitherto they have been serving those false gods, whose worship was an encouragement to vice; and now they hear the Church exhorting her children to be followers of God, that is to say, to imitate infinite Holiness. But they will have to fight hard in order to maintain so elevated a position; and of their old enemies, two, in particular, will strive to re-enslave them,: impurity and avarice. The apostle would not have these vices so much as named among them, from this time forward; for they, he says, that commit such sins are idolaters, and by your vocation to Baptism you have abandoned all your idols. Such are the instructions given by the Church to her future children. Let us apply them to ourselves, for they are also intended for us. We were sanctified almost as soon as we came into the world; have we been faithful to our Baptism? We, heretofore, were light; how comes it that we are now darkness? The beautiful likeness to our heavenly Father, which was once upon us, is perhaps quite gone! But, thanks to divine mercy, we may recover it. Let us do so by again renouncing satan and his idols. Let our repentance and penance restore within us that light, whose fruit consists in all goodness, justice, and truth.
Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail: let the Gentiles be judged in Thy sight. When my enemy shall be turned back, they shall be weakened and perish before Thy face.
To Thee have I lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven. Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their master: And as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to saint Luke, Ch. XI
At that time: Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb. And when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitudes were in admiration at it. But some of them said: He casts out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. And others tempting, asked of Him a sign from heaven. But He, seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. And if satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keeps his court, those things are in peace which he possesses. But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathers not with Me scatters. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he says: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he finds it swept and garnished. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.
Reflexion on the Gospel
As soon as Jesus had cast out the devil, the man recovered his speech, for the possession had made him dumb. It is an image of what happens to a sinner, who will not, or dare not, confess his sin. If he confessed it, and asked pardon, he would be delivered from the tyranny which now oppresses him. Alas! how many there are who are kept back, by a dumb devil, from making the confession that would save them! The holy season of Lent is advancing; these days of grace are passing away; let us profit by them; and if we ourselves be in the state of grace, let us offer up our earnest prayers for sinners, that they may speak, that is, may accuse themselves in confession and obtain pardon.
The sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones; in like manner, O Lord of armies, my King and my God, let my abode be near Thy altar: blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they shall praise Thee forever and ever.
I give you our watchword for 2021 by way of an invitation. I invite you to fight, to combat.
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I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep.
Jesus said to Thomas: “Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”
“A little while and you shall see Me no longer.ˮ