Feb 26, 2009
Today, it has become somewhat fashionable either to deny or to ignore the existence of the devil. Yet, we face more and more the devastating reality of evil in our world. The constant wars and the countless deaths of innocent civilians, including children caught in the crossfire; the breakdown in family life; the rejection of God’s design for marriage; the economic crisis casting its ugly shadow across every nation and leaving families without homes and willing workers without jobs: these are just a few of the evils that confront us.
Our money has lost some of its value. But more telling is the devaluation of life itself. Our society routinely ignores the dignity of the human person as created by God and destined from the first moment of existence for eternal life. All of this gives strong witness to the presence of the Evil One at work in our world. Satan continually tempts us and we sin. We are responsible for the injustice, the hatred and the violence of our day. The scent of brimstone rises from the sins we commit!
Ultimately, we must take responsibility for our own sins. Satan may tempt us. But when we sin, we do so freely. In truth "from within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within" (Mk 7:22-23). Nonetheless, the Christian who honestly faces his or her own sins never despairs.
The Gospel tradition portrays Jesus right from his Baptism in a struggle with the devil. In a saying that comes not merely from the pen of the evangelists, but the lips of Jesus himself, Jesus identifies himself as the Stronger One who comes to despoil Satan of his plunder. He comes to usher us into the Kingdom of God (cf. Lk 11:17-22). Jesus touches the lives of people whom he meets with the liberating power of God. He frees them from the grip of evil and restores them to wholeness. He does the same for us today.