Friends, in today’s Gospel, we learn of a person possessed by a demon. Jesus meets the man and drives out the demon, but then is immediately accused of being in league with Satan. Some of the witnesses say, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
Jesus’ response is wonderful in its logic and laconicism: “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?”
The demonic power is always one of scattering. It breaks up communion. But Jesus, as always, is the voice of communio, of one bringing things back together.
Think back to Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Facing a large, hungry crowd, his disciples beg him to “send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus answers, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
Whatever drives the Church apart is an echo of this “dismiss the crowds” impulse and a reminder of the demonic tendency to divide. In times of trial and threat, this is a very common instinct. We blame, attack, break up, and disperse. But Jesus is right: “They need not go away.”