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Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Jeremiah 7:23-28; Luke 11:14-23

They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me. Jer7
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Ps. 95
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
Lk 11

It is about the midpoint of Lent. We are half way through the time we have to take advantage of this great season of grace. It seems appropriate to reflect upon this gospel today.

Jesus is again in an encounter of liberation. Jesus frees something from within this man and he is able to speak. The people are amazed. But some of the people cry "foul." They throw up arguments, deflecting accusations. They caricature Jesus, and so create doubts and divisions.

If I were the Evil Spirit, that's exactly what I would do. This is so effective. In the presence of anything that is truly blessed by Jesus' liberating love, there's nothing better the Evil Spirit can do than to create a diversion by saying the Healer himself is evil. It's the signature, the calling card, of the Prince of confusion.

If the Evil Spirit can get people to demonize each other, the work of Jesus will be frustrated. If suspicion and distrust can be sown, what room could there be for compassion and love? Hard hearts find it very difficult to be moved by devotion, to be filled with gratitude, or to seek the path of peace and reconcilation.

We have three weeks to let the Spirit of God drive the demons of judgement and division out of our hearts. We still have time to work out some daily patterns of sacrifice to grow in freedom, fasting from what gets in our way, giving to the poor to practice generosity, and examining our consciences to confess our sins - all so that we might be more attuned to the everyday threats to our openness to God's liberating grace.

Each day, we can ask that today we might hear his voice and not harden our hearts.

By Andy Alexander

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