Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus and Beelzebul


It is common among some people to resort to slander and character assassination when honest opposition is hopeless. There is nothing as cruel and uncharitable as slander.

Some of us might be guilty of this offense. How often do we tend to think the worst of other people? How often do we deliberately or consciously impute low motives to somebody whom we do not like? How often do we repeat slanderous and malicious tales and murder other people’s reputation?

When His enemies became helpless in opposing Jesus by fair means they resorted to slander and character assassination. They declared that His power over demons was due to the fact that He was in cahoots with the prince of demons. His enemies attributed Jesus’ power not to God but to Beelzebul. They likened Jesus to the exorcists in Palestine who were then a dime a dozen.

But Jesus responded to the attacks against Him by means of a smart statement: “If I cast out devils because In am in league with the prince of devils, what of your own people who do the same thing? If you condemn me, you are only condemning yourselves.” It was just like Jesus saying: “Before you point an accusing finger at others better look at your own self first.” Indeed, self-awareness, self-knowledge in all honesty is an antidote against the poison of slander; moreover it leads one to truth that makes one free.” (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


First point: It is common for a person to resort to slander, calumny and detraction when he is honestly opposed. For instance, a priest was involved in the reformation of prostitutes and fallen women of a barangay in a big city. His enemies suggested that he was interested in these women for very different and very inferior reasons. There is nothing so cruel as slander, for slander is likely to stick and remain because the human mind is such that it always tends to think the worst and very often the human ear would prefer to hear the bad, the derogatory than the good, complimentary story. Sometimes we are guilty of this particular sin. How often do we deliberately impute low motives to someone whom we dislike? How often do we repeat slanderous and malicious stories and murder reputations over a cup of coffee?

Second point: We must take note that Jesus’ proof that the Kingdom had come was the fact that those who suffered were healed and the sick, the blind, the crippled were cured. In other words, Jesus’ aim was not only the salvation of soul, but the salvation of body and soul, the salvation of the whole person.

Third point: Jesus said that he who was not with Him was against Him and that he who did not help to gather the flock helped to scatter it. In other words there is no place for neutrality in Christian life. The man who stands aloof from the good cause automatically helps the evil cause. We cannot be bystanders; we cannot be merely spectators. We have to be in the play. A person is either on the way or in the way. Remember the saying: “One percent help is worth more than one hundred percent pity.” (Fr. Romy Bancale, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


March 3, 2016 Thursday

Words: some spoken; some unspoken.

In the Chinese Filipino school where I am missioned, we made a study on how the news about our school got around. With the dwindling population among the Chinese Filipino schools, we needed to know how best to advertise the school.

I was surprised at the result: it was primarily by word of mouth.

I, therefore, made repeated appeals, among the employees and parents to be conscious with what they say about the school. Any trivial comment that’s circulated becomes a de ning characteristic, even if the school has more than enough news about its successes — nationally and internationally. Bad news gets around with more gusto than any good news, as anyone with a personal experience may confirm.

The school can opt to have a very expensive PR (Public Relations) group to sell it to the world. However, the best way to “sell” it will still be by being the best school it could be: teachers teaching well; office staff efficient; janitors clearing the spaces clean. Everybody should be doing the job in the best possible way. After all, what we do is not only work. It is a mission.

Margaret Thatcher is quoted to have said: Greatness is like being a lady. If you spend too much time convincing others that you are, then you are not.Yes, the mute speaks! (Fr. Vic Rayco, SVD SJCS, Manila Bible Diary 2016)

All this week were guided by the Liturgy to go with Jesus into our hearts and ask him to drive out anything which is defiling our interior temples. Yesterday the readings spoke to us of the great gift of God’s law, and we examined of our response to that law. Today’s readings continue to probe our interior life, this time addressing a particularly dangerous spiritual condition: hardness of heart.

All of us at times have turned away from God’s will out of fear, doubt, pride, selfishness, sensuality, etc. But God is merciful; when we acknowledge our sin and repent of it, he welcomes us back. Hardness of heart; however,  is much worse than a single failure to listen and follow God. It is a condition in which we stubbornly rejects God’s will in favour of his own will. In this condition, the person is fixed on his own will and has no intention of listening to God.

In the first reading, God gives Jeremiah a good description of hardness of heart as he describes the condition of his chosen people.  He has spoken to them through prophet after prophet, but they have not listened ort obeyed. God uses a very clear image, saying, “They turned their backs, not their faces, to me.” He warns Jeremiah that they will not listen to his words either.

Some of the people in the crowds are in danger of the same spiritual trap as they listen to Jesus and see the wonders he is doing. It should be obvious to them that Jesus is from God, but instead they supposed he is in league with the devil. He has just worked a sign, and they demand another sign. It is clear that they are seeking the will of God. Their hearts are not disposed to listen, so they will not believe, no matter what Jesus says or does.

The ultimate hardhearted one is Satan himself. He has put himself in a state of permanent rebellion against God. When we refuse to listen to God, we risk joining in the tragic rebellion. Even if our hearts are not completely hardened toward God, when we do not want to bend to God’s will, we create a space in which the evil can gain a foothold in our hearts. Jesus exclaims that he has come to despoil Satan of all that he claims to possess. Satan is “strong man” who sits guarding his courtyard, but Jesus is “someone stronger” – much stronger! – who comes and overthrows him. We do not belong to Satan but to Jesus Christ!

We are responsible for the condition of our own hearts. The Lord wants to set us free, but he will not force himself into our hearts. He waits for us to open the door. This is why he urges us, in the words of today’s psalm response: “If today you hear my voice, harden not your hearts.”

When God speaks do I listen and obey? What is he saying to me now through today’s readings? How can I apply them to my life? In what situations do I tend to harden my heart? (from: Pondering the Word The Anawim Way – February 22, 2012 to April 5, 2012, pp. 111-112)


Our gospel passage reminds us that the earthly life and mission of Jesus was a spiritual warfare. Lent and Holy Week, in fact, are seen as a heightening  of that warfare. Luke writes that after the Baptism of Jesus, Satan departed from him for a time 9lk 4:13) until the last days.

Our own Lenten Retreat is a spiritual warfare. It is not enough for us to be aware of our mistakes and shortcomings. We have to ask Jesus for the courage and strength to follow His victorious struggle

Three things that the devil does in our lives:

  • The demon makes us ‘mute.’ We are paralyzed with fear, with lack of faith. We are shut up with a sense of inferiority.
  • The demon makes us obstinate. In the same way that the enemies of Jesus could not accept his goodness, but they kept looking for alibis not to believe in Him…. the demon can make us stubborn in our mistakes and wrong views.  We can become overly critical! We lose our rationality.
  • The demon undermines our unity. Unnecessary irritants such us petty differences begin to hamper our works and mission. (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, published 2006 pp. 65-66)



My Reflection for Thursday March 27, Third Week of Lent, Luke 11:14-23

Reflection: Satan is real and he’s a pervading influence in our society and in our political system as well. Why is the Philippines still a third world country considering that it has rich natural resources? For the simple reason that many of our leaders have allowed themselves to be seduced by Satan. Satan in the guise of corrupted wealth and power always offers himself to the politicians in exchange for honest to goodness public service.

In the same vein, Satan is also a presence inside the Filipino family. This is the reason why there are separation and infidelity inside the marriage covenant. Who can defeat the influence of Satan in our society’s political system And in our respective families? It’s the truthful practice of our faith in Jesus.

Many of us profess to be believers in Jesus and many of our politicians are graduates of catholic schools. Yet there are many plunderers in government, yet there are many broken families. Why is this so? This is for the reason that many of us are believers in name only. Many of us attend Holy Mass but we don’t live the grace of Holy Mass.

If only we would allow our faith in Jesus to take root deep into our bones our country would be once again progressive. And if only we would allow our faith in Jesus to take center stage in our respective families there would also be no more broken marriages. Let us think about how many times we have betrayed our faith in Jesus in exchange for the salivating offers of Satan.

It’s about time that we bury Satan into the dustbin of oblivion by asking Jesus to come into our lives (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Reflection for March 3, Thursday of the Third Week of Lent; Luke 11:14-23

Reflection: Is the devil real?

The devil is real and he’s a pervading influence in our society and in our political system as well. Why is the Philippines still a third world country considering that it has rich human and natural resources? The reason is many of our leaders have allowed themselves to be seduced and manipulated by the devil. The devil in the guise of corrupted wealth and power always offers himself to our politicians in exchange for their honest to goodness public service and governance.

In the same vein, The devil is also a presence inside the Filipino family. This is the reason why there are separation and infidelity inside the marriage covenant. Who can defeat the influence of Satan in our society’s political system and in our respective families? It’s our practice of our faith in Jesus.

Many of us profess to be believers in Jesus and many of our politicians are graduates of catholic schools. Yet there are many plunderers in government, yet there are many broken families. Why is this so? This is for the reason that many of us are believers in name only. Many of us attend Holy Mass but we don’t live the grace of Holy Mass.

If only we would allow our faith in Jesus to take root deep into our bones, our country would once again be progressive. If only we would allow our faith in Jesus to take center stage in our respective families there would also be no more broken marriages. Let us think about how many times we have betrayed our faith in Jesus. In exchange for the salivating offers of the devil which in the long run will only destroy us.

Reject the devil therefore and do not allow yourself to become his agent in this world. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent (A)

Luke 11:14-23. What brings peace and security to people’s lives? The first reading provides an important lesson: “Obey my voice and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23). God is telling us here that wellbeing is only given to those who are faithful to Him. And this rings true to many human experiences. People who listen and obey God’s Word live in peace. They may not possess much wealth, but they always live with joy in their hearts. In contrast, people who neglect God’s Word end up broken and disturbed. They feel empty and miserable despite their material possessions and worldly entertainments. Let us then ask Jesus to free us from evil desires so that we can obey and follow the will of His Father. (Abet Uy)


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF LENT (YEAR C) – LUKAS 11:14-23. KANG KINSANG GINGHARIAN KITA NAHISAKOP – SA DIOS O SA YAWA? Sa kahayag o sa kangitngit? Ang tawo nga magbuhat kanunay og maayo iya gayod sa Ginoo; samtang ang tawo nga puno sa kadaotan iya gayod ni Satanas. Apan, posible ba nga ang tawo mahimong sakop sa Dios ug sa daotan? Mahimo ba siya nga mang-Ginoo sa Domingo ug mang-demonyo gikan sa Lunes kutob sa Sabado? O kaha, nga mangawkaw siya sa gobyerno ug unya mohatag og limos sa Simbahan o sa mga kabos? Sa pagkatinuod, “Walay tawo nga makaalagad sa duha ka agalon.” Para kanato, ang Ginoo lamang ang angay’ng alagaran. Likayan nato ang pagbuhat og daotan tungod kay kini magdala kanato sa dalan sa kaalaotan. Dili man kita perpekto, apan mahimo natong pahari-on diha sa atong kasingkasing ang kaayo. Posted by Abet Uy


UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL: Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”– Luke 11:17

We see a lot of divisions around us — in our family, in our church, in our country and in our world. Husbands and wives separate. The Church is divided on certain moral issues. Civil wars abound. World wars are always a threat. The division may start from petty arguments, envy or minor conflicts until it turns into full blown fights that can be verbal or physical. And this has caused us much harm, pain and even death.

Before Jesus was arrested, He prayed for His disciples and all believers: “I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…. May they be brought to complete unity” (John 17:20, 21, 23).

How do we restore and keep this unity that Jesus prayed for us who believe in Him? By obeying God’s commands. By being faithful to our spouses. By being loyal to our community and church. By serving and caring for one another. By being merciful and forgiving. Meann Tee (

Reflection: Are you a true disciple and believer of Jesus? Are you doing your part in restoring and keeping the unity in the world?

Father, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love. (From the Prayer of St. Francis)


1ST READING: Jeremiah puts down the suffering of the people to their unwillingness to follow the Law of the Lord. The biggest issue at stake here is the lack of the people’s willingness to trust in the Word of God, of which the Law is one aspect. If we trust in the Word of God, we will embrace the Law in the right way, seeing it as a servant and guide for our actions. It is when the Law takes priority over love and compassion that the problems begin. (Jeremiah 7:23-28)

GOSPEL: The people, and especially the leaders, of Judaism are amazed with the power that Jesus constantly exercises and they want to know its origins. They know that what Jesus does is good but if they fully admit this, it is tantamount to saying that they have been doing a bad job leading the people, as they have not been able to do the things that Jesus does. There is a certain warped nature to this sort of thinking, but that is precisely what happens when jealousy or envy is lurking close at hand. (Luke 11:14-23)


I SEE ME: When I was still in the seminary, I had a co-seminarian who was well…perfect. He was intelligent, prayerful, very athletic, sings and dances well, plays the guitar and a little bit of drums and piano, a good speaker, was very popular among the people in the apostolate, and good-looking. But for some reason, I didn’t like him. I wasn’t hostile towards him but I just didn’t feel close to him to be his friend. He left before reaching theology. But I must admit (to my shame), I secretly rejoiced when he left the seminary. This bothered me and I consulted my spiritual director. After a series of sessions, I realized that it was not him I disliked but myself, and I projected it onto him. Every good thing in him was a reminder of what I was not, and at times I found myself imputing ill motives upon every virtue of his.

This is also what we see in today’s Gospel. Here was Jesus, true God and true man. He preached with authority, loved the sinners, raised the dead, cured the sick. What did the crowds and religious leaders say? “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” They didn’t see God-Emmanuel but the devil incarnate. I guess it was not Jesus they disliked. They hated themselves and they projected it onto Jesus. Everything good in Him was a reminder of everything evil in them.

In many ways, we are guilty of this defense mechanism. Blessed John Paul II called people with this attitude as masters of suspicion. They are people who cannot accept their mistakes and weaknesses, and so they project these onto other people. When convicted in their limitations, either by word or the example of others, they cast malicious suspicions on others.

Friends, there will always be people, consciously or unconsciously, who will convict us in our failings. They may be right. They may just be living reminders “of everything we failed to do.” Our dislike of them may actually be a dislike of ourselves. May we not immediately ignore or dismiss them as sanctimonious prudes. They may just be what we need for real self-knowledge and, therefore, genuine self-love. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are there people you dislike? Consider this. They could be mirrors God has given you for self-examination.

Lord, remind me to always look within whenever I judge another person’s weakness or wrongdoing.


NATION WIDE EXORCISM – In 2015, the Reverend Cardinal Iñiguez of Guadalajara, together with several exorcists and demonologists, performed exorcism for the entire country of Mexico. Speaking through the Catholic News Agency, Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea said, “The exorcism performed in San Luis Potosi is the first ever carried out in Mexico in which the exorcists came from different parts of the country and gathered together to exorcise the powers of darkness… from the whole country.” When you realize that there is indeed so much evil happening, you do not see that individuals are to be blamed solely. There must be a dark power manipulating the mind that is beyond human.

At the height of the morality scandal that the Church faced a couple of years back, several exorcists proposed that the clergy involved in these should not just be subjected to “Assist” or “Crises-Intervention” programs, but must undergo Rites of Exorcism. If the clergy who have been called, formed and anointed to serve are the ones who are victimizing those they are supposed to lay their lives for, this issue should be addressed differently. Without underplaying their culpability for using their free will wrongly, they were proposed to be exorcised.

We must realize that the forces of evil are powerful. When    we become weak spiritually and put down our defenses, they can easily take over. They are still very much at work today, just as they were at work in the past. We need to guard ourselves against the forces of the evil one.

Exorcists know that when they are to perform rites of deliverance, they need to be in the state of grace as the evil one may overpower them by pointing out their own sinfulness. So they would go to confession first. It will surely work the same way for us if we try to maintain a life that is constantly lived according to the Lord’s precepts, always in the state of grace. Fr. Sandy V. Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: When did you last go to confession? Seeing the heavy effect of personal sins combined, pray for each person that you get in contact with today.

The sins of the world weigh heavily on us. Forgive us our sins, Lord, and heal our land. Amen.


Thursday, March 3

Je 7: 23-28; Lk 11: 14-23

Religious Prejudices 

Both readings stress the stubbornness with which we can resist what God wishes us to learn. So often we see only what we wish to see, and refuse to pay heed to the voice of the Lord that urges and cajole us to a better style of life. As his opponents resisted Jesus, six centuries earlier, the people had rejected Jeremiah’s prophecies. In a generalised phrase the prophet describes an all-too-common human response to the word of God, “They did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward.” Our proper response should be one of firmer commitment to the saving message and example of Jesus. For he says in Luke: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Choosing wisely and well is a central goal throughout Lent. It is certain that many of us will try to renew our fundamental life-choices during this time, renewing the commitment to the marriage, to parenting, to a consecrated religious life, and to making a difference for good, as we pass on our way through life.

Because of Jesus’ numerous healings and exorcisms many people were blessed with freedom from various troubles and oppression of evil spirits. But some of the Jewish leaders, in today’s gospel, react vehemently to Jesus’ healings and exorcisms and they even oppose Him ferociously with malicious slander resorting to character assassination when they miserably failed in legitimate opposition. Sometimes we are guilty of this particular sin too. There is nothing as cruel and uncharitable as slander but some of us tend to think the worst and often would prefer to hear the bad and the derogatory remarks rather than the good and complimentary story. How often do we deliberately repeat slanderous and malicious stories and murder reputations to someone whom we dislike over a cup of coffee?

What Jesus is saying in today’s gospel reading is: “Whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters”. With Jesus we cannot evade decision; we cannot remain noncommittal; we cannot protect ourselves against risks. Why? It is because there is a cosmic war that is going on between good and evil. In this kind of war we cannot remain neutral or noncommittal. If we refuse to side with God, it can mean, we accept or take side with evil or Satan. Now we know that God will eventually win this war. And so, why we allow ourselves to be on the losing side?

The crowd even the powerful demon acknowledged the divine power and revelation that Jesus is the Messiah and he did everything with divine power within Him. Only the Pharisees with their ulterior motives would never acknowledge the power of the Son of man. They would rather cast doubts on him and take the opportunity to criticize and attack him. The truth is that only a genuinely pure heart can acknowledge the works of God. We have to shed away our masks to see the mighty deeds of the salvation in our lives, to experience his healing touch in our lives.

Finally, through his ministry Jesus makes present in the world the Kingdom of God which is the defeat of the forces of evil. This imposes a necessary choice to be with Jesus or against him. Those who are with Jesus will definitely do the Will of God irrespective of their nationality, tradition, race or gender. What is important is that we should not divide the family of God through the religious prejudices. Dr. John Ollukaran CMI


March 03, 2016

REFLECTION: There is something almost pathetic in the way some of the enemies of Jesus are so desperate in their search for means of discrediting him that they are reduced to grasp at straws and fall back on such ludicrous reasonings that even a child would see through them and point out their lack of logic.

In today’s gospel reading these enemies of Jesus, unable to deny that he does indeed successfully perform public exorcisms that everybody can witness, resort to a ludicrous explanation of these phenomena, attributing the exorcisms to Beelzebul’s power (the prince of demons) acting through Jesus. The latter easily refutes this with a common sense argument. Why would Satan kick his own demons out of humans? It would be like General X ordering Captain Y to shoot the men of his own army!

Only a deep lack of honesty can bring people to resort to convoluted arguments for rejecting the truth when it is staring them in the face. Let us examine ourselves in this respect. Do we always call a spade a spade—or do we often not try to call it something else?


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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One Response to Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent

  1. Ignas says:

    Nice to reflect the word of God with guidelines of justmehomilies

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