One of the interesting sports that is played across many places and in many cultures is the “tug-of-war”.
The “Tug-of-war” is a sport that directly puts two or more teams against each other in a test of strength: teams pull on opposite ends of a rope, with the goal being to bring the rope a certain distance in one direction against the force of the opposing team’s pull.
The phrase “tug of war” originally meant “the decisive contest; the real struggle or tussle; a severe contest for supremacy”.
Such a “tug-of-war” is seen not just seen or played on the sports field… it is also often witnessed in life.
Our Christian especially witnesses this “tug-of-war”…
>> A constant struggle between the forces of evil and the power of goodness…
>> A relentless warfare between the coercion of sin and the strength of holiness…
The Gospel of the Day presents a “tug-of-war” between…
… Jesus and the Pharisees
… the Holy One and the evil forces
… the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Satan
The Lord came to the world to usher in the Kingdom of God.
>> Bringing to forefront the Kingdom of Power and Holiness, the Lord casts out a demon from a person who is dumb. (Lk 11: 14)
This mighty action of healing and deliverance had a tremendous effect…
… the dumb man spoke
… and the people marvelled.
But, this wondrous act of power and authority also triggered a volley of struggles…
… a struggle of words between the Pharisees and Jesus
… a teaching on the struggle between the Kingdom of God and the forces of evil
The Lord lashes out in authority and conviction, on being accused of siding with evil powers to cast out demons: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and a divided household falls” ( Lk 11: 17)
>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be siding with negative forces in order to perform deeds of goodness and salvation!
>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be on the side of evil and sin and yet be authentic and genuine in doing works of true deliverance and righteousness!
This brings us to an important dimension that needs our honest and critical consideration:
>> Am I a person truly on the side of God when I engage in works and ministries of the Lord…
… but still continuing to be on the side of the Evil One by living a life of sin?
>> Am I a person imbued with the Spirit of the Holy Lord in professing to be a Christian…
… or am I living a dual-life by failing to give up immoral tendencies and obliging the evil spirit?
>> Am I a person who may be performing a lot of good works in the name of God…
… but failing to have an intimate relationship and union with the God of all power and glory?
Venerable Fr Peter Marie Mermier, the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales puts it beautifully:
“The ministry of a priest without prayer, is a barren ministry, without any effect, even harmful; it is a ministry of death!
>> Instead of enlightening, it blinds; instead of healing, it kills!
But the ministry of the one who prays, is a ministry of life!”
>> Christian life is not to be just defined by external works of piety and works…
…but is to be a reflection of the inner intimacy and relation with the Lord.
>> Christian Life is not to be merely characterised by many deeds of charity and devotion…
… but is to be a manifestation of one’s true faith and closeness to the Divine Master.
>> A true inner disposition and authority is a must to be effective and credible in our life.
>> A proper grounding is an absolute requirement to be engaged in the works of the Lord.
I may find myself often in the “tug-of-war” of faith and unbelief…
>> But am I clear in taking the side of the Lord and Him alone?
I may find myself often in the “tug-of-war” of actions of goodness and temptations of the evil…
>> But am I convinced of taking the side of the Kingdom of God alone?
Christian Life will be a constant “tug-of-war”
… between the evil and good
… between the Devil and Jesus
… between the Kingdom of God and the powers of wickedness
>> Which side are we on?
God Bless! Live Jesus!