Thursday of the Third Week of Lent – ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin’
‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin.’ (Lk 11: 17) Obviously, Jesus says these words about the kingdom of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, to demonstrate the falsehood of the claims of those who would attribute Jesus’ power to Beelzebul. But these words of Christ about the unsustainability of internal divisions can also be applied to our own lives.
Even before we start thinking about our relationship with God, it is clear that there are many elements in our lives which it’s hard to balance – indeed, one way of thinking about moral evil (i.e. sin) is that it involves putting too much or too little emphasis on one particular aspect of what would make our lives fruitful: so, for example, the person who eats too much ranks bodily nourishment – a good and necessary thing for our survival, in the right measure – too highly. But once our priorities are out of balance, there is a sense in which they fight against each other – we are divided against ourselves, and unable to pursue any of these goals effectively.
Furthermore, as Christians we know that our sins not only harm our own integration, but also our relationship with God. By adopting false priorities, we fail to place Him at the centre of our lives, and yet we know that only by referring everything to God can we truly balance all the different elements of our lives. On our own, though, it would still be impossible for us to manage – not only to actually work out but certainly to put it into practice: however, we believe that, through the victory which Christ won for the whole human race, and which he shares with us through the grace we receive in the Sacraments, he makes it possible for us to turn our whole lives towards him, and in him to find not only true human fulfilment, but beyond that, a share in his own divine life.