It might surprise you to learn that many people do not believe in the devil. Even some Christians deny that Satan is real. Oh, sure they believe in evil, but they think that evil is just a product of bad human judgments.
They are profoundly wrong.
Brothers and sisters: Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
Satan is real. We defeat him through faith in Jesus, prayer, scripture and reception of the Holy Eucharist.
How much faith do we need? As much as possible. But even a faith as small as a mustard seed can lead us to Christ.
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
We all need to pray that our faith will grow each and every day.
All of us have to decide for ourselves whether we will live as children of light or whether we will choose the path of darkness. It would seem to be an easy choice, but it is not. Darkness is so seductive, isn’t it?
Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
As Paul warns, the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So put on the mantle of Christ and live as a child of the light.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus descended to the dead? The answer is not complicated. Jesus went down to “the countries under the earth” to raise up the righteous who had lived and died prior to his incarnation. Because those righteous were unable to acknowledge Jesus as the savior when they were alive, he raised them in his mercy.
Brothers and sisters: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.
Unlike those who lived and died before Jesus, we must repent of our sinfulness and accept him as our savior if we want to enter into eternal life.
Is your faith on fire? Or is it lukewarm? Perhaps you feel that the pilot light of your faith is barely flickering. If so, today’s gospel passage is the antidote, and that antidote is the fire of the Spirit that leads us to faith in Jesus.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Jesus is not inciting us to have divisions in our families. Instead, he wants us to understand that there is nothing that should distract our focus away from Jesus.
It’s all about a relationship with Jesus. Let the fire fall!