Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oculi, the Third Sunday in Lent

Like the Israelites, who were helpless against the king of Babylon until Cyrus of Persia came and freed them, so are we helpless against the devil until Jesus--the man stronger than he--comes and overpowers him. This is why salvation is by grace and not works: we are helpless against the devil.

So Jesus cast out a devil today, token of his power over all devils. But where does the demon go? Through waterless places seeking rest, and then comes back with seven more wicked than himself. And see, as soon as Jesus heals the mute man, the power of the demons shows itself in an array of Jesus' enemies who charge that he is a son of Beelzebub. See how the last state is worse than the first: for which is worse, a speechless tongue, or a tongue that utters blasphemy?

So must we be warned, having been baptized (and thereby had exorcisms performed on us), that devils are still a danger. What to do? The woman in the crowd though perhaps flattery would do. It does not. Telling Jesus how great he is, or how marvelous his mother, does nothing. Blessed, rather, are they that hear the word of God and keep it. That is, rather than flatter Jesus' mother, follow her example, pondering these things and keeping them in our heart. The sermon.

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