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expectation was that Satan would be chained up in the last days (Rv 20, 2); Jesus’ exorcisms indicate that those days have begun.


12, 30: This saying, already attached to the preceding verses in Q (see Lk 11, 23), warns that there can be no neutrality where Jesus is concerned. Its pertinence in a context where Jesus is addressing not the neutral but the bitterly opposed is not clear. The accusation of scattering, however, does fit the situation. Jesus is the shepherd of God’s people (2, 6), his mission is to the lost sheep of Israel (15, 24); the Pharisees are guilty of scattering the sheep. Matthew 12: 22-32


22 Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute. He cured the mute person so that he could speak and see. 23 All the crowd was astounded, and said, “Could this perhaps be the Son of David?” 24 But the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” 25 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.


REFLECTION:


Jesus confronted the power of Satan. He drove out the dumb and blind spirit who possessed the man. The Pharisees were jealous and afraid of Jesus. Rather than interpreting his miracles as signs of the kingdom they interpreted them as works of the devil. They clung to their hardheaded belief that Jesus was evil. Their hardness of heart made it impossible for them to see Jesus in a positive light.


All of us are blind. When Jesus enters into our lives he gives us the power to see our sinfulness and repent of it. He teaches us about ourselves and shows us that he has been with us during both the difficult and good times. We see the need to accept ourselves as we are. As we do so we see the way to the Father.


Jesus opens our lips so that we can witness to his goodness to us. Everything that has happened to us, good and bad, is to be used to proclaim the kingdom to


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