Ordinary Time Week 27: Friday

“But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.” (Luke 11:25)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The unclean spirit dwelt in us before we believed, before we came to Christ when our soul was still committing fornication against God and was with its lovers, the demons. Afterward it said, “I will return to my first husband,” and came to Christ, who “created” it from the beginning “in his image.” Necessarily the adulterous spirit gave up his place when it saw the legitimate husband. Christ received us, and our house has been “cleansed” from its former sins. It has been “furnished” with the furnishing of the sacraments of the faithful that they who have been initiated know. This house does not deserve to have Christ as its resident immediately unless its life and conduct are so holy, pure and incapable of being defiled that it deserves to be the “temple of God.” It should not still be a house, but a temple in which God dwells. If it neglects the grace that was received and entangles itself in secular affairs, immediately that unclean spirit returns and claims the vacant house for itself. “It brings with it seven other spirits more wicked,” so that it may not be able again to be expelled, “and the last state of that kind of person is worse than the first.” It would be more tolerable that the soul would not have returned to its first husband once it became a prostitute than having gone back after confession to her husband, to have become an adulteress again. There is no “fellowship,” as the apostle says, “between the temple of God and idols,” no “agreement between Christ and Belial.” (Homilies on Exodus, 8)

Almighty ever-living God,
Who in the abundance of Your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires
of those who entreat You,
pour out Your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen