Since my elementary days, I have been trained in mathematics well. I used to join several competitions and quiz bees. The subject became my passion which led me to choose it as my college course. Later on, it helped me land a job in the bank. I did not immediately realize that this competency had become part of my personality and temperament. I thought there was nothing wrong with always aiming to do what was right. In math, I need to follow the steps rightly to arrive at the correct answer. I perceived life like this.
When I became a seminarian, it was easy for me to do the right thing. In the first place, I should not do something wrong. But, living in a community entails understanding, accompaniment, and acceptance of myself and others. For always choosing to be right, I lose sight of the other option––a more Christ-like option, and that is choosing to be kind. We are diverse yet united in God’s love. Self-righteousness is a kind of condition which, I believe, is an opening for the devil to creep into one’s mind.
Truly, the devil exists and uses all its power to tempt us to close our hearts to God. He uses both our weaknesses and strengths to make us feel confused with the truth of God’s abounding love and mercy. In my case, the devil was able to drag me to use my competency to make me rigid, unforgiving, and negative-minded. It was a hard battle between me and the devil’s grasp of my personality. I could easily be lost until I realized that all our battles are won in prayer. And rightly so, this battle is not just all about me. God is fighting for me. I have to cooperate with Him.
Our Gospel for today is rich in imageries of God’s love. He always cares for our well-being. The devil cannot win over us because we are in God’s hands. The finger of God makes us safe from the snares of the devil.
By: Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“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?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully 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.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”