Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

The world is a prison

He was driving out a demon (that was) mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons”.…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? … If I, then, drive out demons …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. Lk 11,14-23

The today’s gospel speaks of the world, represented as a palace-prison, the guard of which is Satan, the strong man who keeps the humanity enslaved. Each prisoner is guarded by a demon, whose task is to keep the prisoner inside of his cell, possibly even without granting him the hour of ventilation, as for the dangerous criminals in the prisons constructed by the men. In each cell the slavery manifests itself in a particular way: it may be the silence, physical or spiritual, as in the case of the man at the beginning of the today’s gospel, or another handicap. Or alternatively, all the excesses and deviations which lead to a form of madness: drugs, sex, gambling, alcohol, the love for the money, the obsessive search of power or of the career. The misery and the absolute despair of the man’s life takes place in these cells. Also less harsh cells exist, such as the ones of depression, agitation, inside restlessness, the need of irrepressible smoking, affection to the things, disorder and excessive order, obsessive respect of the rules, sadness and melancholy and others. In these cells a real desperation is not alive, but a lack of permanent joy. In almost all of these, however, the man is so enslaved that he can be released only by a powerful intervention of the Lord who opens the door, drives out the demons and brings him out. Only in some cells the slavery leaves some available time, where the prisoner can pray and ask to the Lord to be released because he is the man stronger than the strong one, as spoken in the today gospel. When these releases happen, people indulge in expressions of joy, of praise, of prayer, of singing  and they are pervaded by an intensive desire to live, as when, at the end of the second world war, the Allies arrived and the people poured into the streets to sing and to celebrate.

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