Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists[a] cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.-Luke 11:14-23 NRSV
Beelzebul And Casting Of Demons
The above Gospel reading is very interesting. The Pharisees have an explanation for the miracles that Jesus is doing. They say he is doing them with the power of Beelzebul.
Beelzebul was an ancient Philistine deity, and was considered a major demon during the time of Jesus. Essentially the Pharisees were saying that Jesus was casting out demons with the power of demons. The response that Jesus gives makes it clear from whom his power comes from.
It cannot possibly come from demons because they would just be working against themselves. A kingdom divided amongst itself will not last.
Jesus Has the Power
The power that Jesus has to cast out demons and heal is not something that the demons are able to do. Likewise we are not able to reform and save ourselves from sin. We can try and and try, but if we are doing it apart from Jesus we will ultimately fail.
We are unable to overcome evil by our own efforts. The Catechism in paragraph 385 has this to say,
“God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.“
Will It Be Jesus Or Beelzebul?
The evil one wants us to try to do it on our own. That way we are easy picking for him when we fall in despair. We do this without knowing it sometimes. Are we seeking to live a life of holiness and asking Jesus to daily lead us along the way?
To not grow in holiness and daily choosing not to follow Christ we essentially are giving the power to Beelzebul. Our souls cannot go both ways. It is one or the other. Choose Jesus.
You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.- St. Therese of Lisieux
Love God, serve God; everything is in that.- St. Clare of Assisi