“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

The gospel for this day (Lk 11:14-23) starts with Jesus exorcising a demon.  This naturally causes amazement, but Jesus’ enemies accuse Him of driving out demons through the power of the prince of demons.  Jesus responds with the famous line, “if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” (v. 18)  He then has the crowd consider the implications of: What if what He has just done is from God?  He closes with the line at top.  A good question to ask is, “What does it mean to be against Jesus?”  We might immediately consider as an extreme example, satanists.  Certainly a person who knowingly espouses this pits himself against God.  True atheists don’t hate God, they simply do not believe.  But their arguments can certainly sway some (a growing number) from believing, and thus they work against God by attacking faith and scattering the faithful.  Agnostics are lukewarm and do nothing to advance God’s Kingdom.  Obvious culprits, all.  But what about self-proclaimed believers who, through word or deed, belie their Christianity?  In a sense, these are against the Lord more so than declared opponents or unbelievers.  Bad example has turned off many seekers from embracing Christianity, often causing them to become outspoken against it.  Our faith must shape our lives.  We acknowledge we are trespassers, so we must continuously work on eliminating sin from our lives.  But our inclination toward evil is no excuse to sin against God and others, or otherwise provide bad example.  We must work on our faults, correcting any harm we’ve done as quickly and completely as possible, while being unafraid to share our faith and witness to its powerful effect in our lives.  Lent is a good time to ramp up prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and other good works in an effort to live authentic Christian lives.

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