“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?”
Entire books could be written about just these two verses that Jesus spoke to the crowd in today’s gospel. No wonder the gospel is so long today. The words Jesus spoke are timeless and are still very applicable in today’s modern world too. This verse applies to entire countries and individual communities, but also within families, marriages, between parents, in our parishes, and most especially within the Catholic church itself.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are unified within the Holy Trinity, and also everyone that they are in communion with. Satan is the one who causes disunity and conflict.
Ok. If understand that Satan causes conflict, division and disunity, then why do we not recognize the devil’s presence in our midst? Why is it so difficult to see his ugly head rear up within us, or in the people we around us? This simple awareness could help so many marriages from breaking up, and it would also help parents raise their children with a common agreement and united front. Our parishes would be more welcoming and inclusive, entire wars could be avoided, and communities would not live with so much discord.
These scripture verses will not solve all the worlds problems, but if we would just apply this principle that Christ taught us in our daily lives, so much heartache could be avoided.
As Catholics, we often we do not present a united front, or a united reflection of Christianity to the world. Jesus explained how Satan’s kingdom will fall if it is divided against itself in the gospel today. Well, this principle also applies to the Catholic church. The Lord said the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, but we could still lose an untold number of souls if we send mixed signals to the world about our beliefs.
We do not need to cover all the things that cause division within our church, but just one example would be the very high-profile Catholic politicians that enact laws that directly contradict the very same Catholic beliefs that they claim to possess. The laws they draft and vote into law are in direct violation of our Catholic beliefs and it is a very grave matter, that is done with full knowledge and their full consent. And yet, the world watches while these same politicians have the audacity to receive communion publicly, even at the pope’s inauguration. This is what Christ meant about a kingdom that is divided against itself will not stand.
Jesus went on to say that:
“When a strong man full-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.”
As long as we are vigilant in adhering to our Catholic beliefs, the devil can’t even get a foothold on us. There is strength in numbers and strength in unity. But, individually, one at a time we can be broken. Have you ever attempted to break a stack of thin twigs or branches from a tree? It’s impossible to break them as a group. But, you can break them one twig at a time until the entire stack is broken. This is the devil’s tactics.
Jesus said that, “whoever is not with me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
We need to stick together and be watchful of the devil’s deceptions. All of us at some point started out on the right foot in life, but if we ever entertain the devil’s temptations and begin to think mostly about ourselves and what we want, then he has gained a foothold in our lives. All the good we ever did in our lives will not matter in the end, if we do not persevere in following God’s commandments. That’s what Jesus talked about in the last verses of the gospel, when he talks about a clean home that an evil spirit leaves, and then returns with seven other spirits more wicked than itself to live there. The last condition of that man is worse than the first.
We need to be vigilant like the fully armed man in the gospel who guarded his palace, so we will be safe from the devil’s assaults.
However, it isn’t enough to just do the minimum to stay out of trouble, or avoid sin. The first reading for Mass today talked about the different results of those who actually do God’s will, from those who don’t. If you follow the commandments and do God’s will, and especially live by Christ’s teachings, then you will live forever in heaven. However, if you say one thing but do another, then you might not have the assurance of entering heaven one day.
Our actions speak louder than just the words we say. That can be a good thing though! If you have been practicing your faith both in your words and your deeds, you have nothing to fear. The Holy Spirit is already with you, to defend you, protect you and be your Advocate.
Daily Mass Readings
Galatians 3: 7-14 / Psalm 111 / Luke 11: 15-26