Thursday, February 28, 2008

Satan vs. Satan

In today's Gospel, Jesus has just been accused of delivering people from evil by the power of evil. In other words, Jesus has been called a minion of Satan. His response was to ask, "If Satan is divided against himself, his domain cannot last."
For some reason, I found myself going from this biblical image to ... today's newspaper coverage of the election! Not just with Hillary vs. Obama, people who should be on the same side, but who are duking it out for the Democratic nomination, but also the coverage from the Republican side, with conservative pundits decrying McCain's lack of complete obeisance to the party line. I would hate to see people actually following the pundits' recommendations to boycott the election because a candidate wasn't slavish enough in adhering to one political orthodoxy or another. Boycotting, it seems to me, puts a double burden of responsibility on the person who fails to participate in the process. "The best is the enemy of the good" really applies here. If "Satan" keeps fighting "Satan" in-house, no matter what the party or policy, it cannot stand.
But that's just an aside. The real meat of the Gospel, of course, comes in the parable Jesus tells. Is Satan really fighting Satan, as Jesus' jealous foes claim, or is something else going on? Jesus admits that Satan is like a strong man, well-armed as he guards his palace. So who is Jesus? Jesus is the even stronger robber who breaks in, grabs the weapons and takes possession of the place, lock, stock and barrel. Jesus has already won the victory.

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