The Lord through Jeremiah in today’s First Reading describes what sin is like to him: turning your back on him. It’s a complete about face. In Biblical symbolism the face is a sign of presence, even communion. Sins, great and small, to one degree or another turn our gaze away from God and fix it upon something else. The Lord wanted to see their faces, but instead he got their backs. He is their God, but he wants them to acknowledge it, to turn their faces toward him, and they don’t, despite all he has done for them.
Sin may be an exercise of our freedom, since God created us with freedom so that we could choose whether to love him or not, but it’s also something that makes us freely expose ourselves to the influences of evil in the world that ultimately seek to despoil us of that freedom. We may turn our back on God, but that leaves us exposed to the “strong man” of today’s Gospel to come and conquer us because we didn’t side with God; we turn from our Father and walk right into the alleys of bullies. Our Lord wants to be the strong man and big brother that defends us from evil, but we have to let him. In healing a mute today the Our Lord is showing, despite the propaganda of some, that the power of God is present and active in him and conquering evil, not just healing. They may not entirely understand or believe yet that he is God, but they can’t deny that the Father is acting through his miracles.
If you feel weighed down and powerless due to the bad choices you’ve made, Our Lord is waiting to be the strong man to shelter you as you regain your footing. He will help you to stand up and will stand by you for as long as you let him. Lent’s the time to regain your footing with his help and rejoin him now and forever.
Readings: Jeremiah 7:23–28; Psalm 95:1–2, 6–9; Luke 11:14–23. See also 27th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.