OCULI—THe Third Sunday in Lent
Jeremiah was charged with speaking evil when he spoke the word of the Lord. (Jeremiah 26:1–15) So also, Jesus is accused of doing evil when in fact He is doing good. He casts out a demon from a mute man so that he is able to speak. (Luke 11:14–28) But some said Jesus did this by the power of Beelzebub, Satan. Like Pharaoh of old, their hearts were hard. (Exodus 8:16–24) They did not recognize the finger of God, the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through Jesus. Jesus is the Stronger Man who overcomes the strong man. He takes the devil’s armor of sin and death and destroys it from the inside out by the holy cross. He exorcizes and frees us by water and the Word. We were once darkness, but now we are light in Christ the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1–9) As children of light our tongues are loosed to give thanks to Him who saved us. In a world where demons roam we confess, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” (Introit)
My eyes are ever | toward the Lord,*
for He shall pluck my feet out | of the net.
Turn Yourself to me, and have mer- | cy on me,*
for I am desolate and af- | flicted. (Psalm 25:15–16)
To You, O Lord, I lift | up my soul.*
O my God, I trust in You; let me not | be ashamed;
the troubles of my heart | have enlarged;*
bring me out of | my distresses!
Look on my affliction | and my pain,*
and forgive | all my sins.
Keep my soul, and de- | liver me;*
let me not be ashamed, for I put my | trust in You. (Psalm 25:1–2, 17–18, 20)
We implore You, almighty and merciful Father, to look upon the hearty desires of Your humble servants and stretch forth the right hand of Your majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament: Exodus 8:16–24 [This is the finger of God]
Arise, O Lord, do not let | man prevail;*
let the nations be judged | in Your sight.
When my ene- | mies turn back,*
they shall fall and perish at Your | presence. (Psalm 9:19, 3)
Psalmody: Psalm 9
Epistle: Ephesians 5:1–9 [Imitators of God]
Unto You I lift | up my eyes,*
O You who dwell in the | heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of | servants*
look to the hand of their | masters.
So our eyes look to the | Lord our God,*
until He has mer- | cy on us.
Have mercy on | us, O Lord,*
Have mercy | on us! (Psalm 123:1–3)
Holy Gospel: Luke 11:14–28 [Jesus and Beelzebub]