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Friends, in today’s Gospel, scribes accuse Jesus of driving out demons by Beelzebul—by Satan.

The two great names of the devil in the Bible are “the accuser” and “the scatterer.” Both are operative and visible in this story. And this helps us immensely to understand Jesus and his work. 

We see in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus is known as an exorcist, someone who drives out the demonic. Jesus specifies that his work is in driving out Satan—which is to say, the accuser. The false way of organizing ourselves—present from the beginning—is through accusation, scapegoating, the establishment of us against them, insiders vs. outsiders. 

The kingdom of God will be predicated on other assumptions—namely, love, nonviolence, forgiveness of enemies, the overcoming of division. When this vision of life comes into conflict with the powers of the world—which was more or less inevitable—Jesus becomes, himself, an accused victim, a scapegoat. 

But instead of responding in kind, he takes upon himself that negative, satanic energy and swallows it up in the divine mercy.