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Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Ever swear off something and then return to it. Sometimes it is easier to give up something the first time than it is the second. That is what Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel. He is warning us against returning to an old bad habit, to an addiction, to an unfavorable way of life that we had before. For if we do we could very well find ourselves much worse off. This is how he describes what can happen to a person who has turned his back on the bad in his life but then returns to it.

“When an unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it wanders through arid wastes, searching for a resting place. Failing to find one, it says, ‘I will go back where I came from.’ It then returns to find the house swept and tidied. Next it goes out and returns with seven other spirits far worse than itself, who enter in and dwell there. The result is that the last state of the man is worse than the first.” Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

Let us imagine it wouldn’t actually turn out as bad as Jesus depicts if we decide to go back to our bad habits, to our addictions, or to our unfavorable ways, but what’s the point? What would we really have to gain by returning to what has already proved to be unrewarding, except for maybe a brief period of time. That which has already proven itself to be bad for us is not something we want to return to. We shouldn’t even play around with the idea, we should watch what we fantasize.

Consider Lot’s wife. She looked back when she shouldn’t have. And got frozen in her tracks. Jesus is warning the same could happen to us. Return to our old ways and we might get stuck there. Let us learn from our mistakes of the past, but let us not return to them.

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