Deliver Us from the Evil One

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

(Celebrated July 5 in the USA)

Saint Anthony Zaccaria, Priest – Optional Memorial

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When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”  Matthew 8:28-29

This Scripture passage reveals two things: 1) Demons are ferocious; 2) Jesus has complete power over them.

First of all, we should notice that the two demoniacs “were so savage that no one could travel by that road.”  That’s a very significant statement.  It’s clear that the demons possessing these two men were vicious and filled those in the town with great fear.  So much so that no one would even come near them.  This is not a very pleasant thought, but it is reality and it is worth understanding.  True, we may not encounter evil in such a direct way very often, but we do face it at times.  The evil one is alive and well and is constantly striving to build his demonic kingdom here on Earth.

Think of times when evil appeared to be manifest, oppressive, malicious, calculated, etc.  There are times in history when the evil one appeared to triumph in powerful ways.  And there are ways that his activity is still manifest in our world today.

That brings us to the second lesson of this story.  Jesus has complete authority over the demons.  Interestingly, He casts them out into the herd of swine and the swine then run down the hill and die.  Bizarre.  The towns people are so overwhelmed they then ask Jesus to leave the town.  Why would they do that?  In part, the reason seems to be the fact that Jesus’ exorcism of these two men causes quite a commotion.  This is because manifest evil does not depart quietly.

This is an important lesson to remember in our day and age.  It’s important because the evil one appears to be making his presence known to a greater and greater degree today.  And he certainly has plans to make his presence even more known in the coming years.  We see this in the moral downfall of our societies, the public acceptance of immorality, the secularization of the various world cultures, the increase of terrorism, etc.  There are countless ways that the evil one appears to be winning the battle.

Jesus is all-powerful and will win in the end.  But the hard part is that His victory will most likely cause quite a scene and it will make many uneasy. Just as they told Him to leave their town after He freed the demoniacs, so also there are many Christians today who are all too willing to ignore the rise of the kingdom of the evil one so as to avoid any contention.

Reflect, today, if you are willing to face the “consequences,” so to speak, of confronting the kingdom of the evil one with the Kingdom of God.  Are you willing to do what it takes to stand strong in a culture that is continually deteriorating?  Are you willing to remain steadfast in the face of the noise of the evil one?  Saying “Yes” to this will not be easy, but it will be a glorious imitation of our Lord Himself.

Lord, help me to remain strong in the face of the evil one and his kingdom of darkness.  Help me to confront that kingdom with confidence, love and truth so as to bring forth Your Kingdom in its place.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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