Its back to ordinary time now when the gospels outline Christ’s public ministry. The first reading invites us to say with Samuel: “Speak Lord you servant is listening”. And Paul says to use our bodies for God’s glory as modern apostles. Like them, let’s be faithful to Christ’s church, and confess our failures in this..
Once in school an older child said: the devil doesn’t exist. I suppose he was echoing something his parents told him, but this view is not Christian. Christ constantly refers to the Evil One and asked us to guard against him. I replied to the child who said Satan doesn’t exist: “that’s what he wants you to think”. Look around you at the world we live in: daily stabbings, murders, kidnapping, violence, drugs, war, family breakdown. Look at our age’s evils such as Hitler and the holocaust or Stalin’s Gulags. Look at the daily slaughter of innocents still going on in the world. Look at shots of soldiers urinating on bodies of fallen enemies. Look at our age’s incessant attacks on the faith.
But at the same time don’t be frightened! God’s Christ and good also exist and are infinitely more powerful. Look at all the good people in the world still following God’s Spirit. If we give him half a chance he’ll conquer all evil for us. But we have but to ask for his help in prayer, and remain practicing members of his church as we promised at baptism. Its only when we leave that haven that we’re open to the world’s forces of evil. Establishing his church, Christ said the gates of hell couldn’t prevail against it. But he cant force us, we must freely choose his way. We must be like the apostles in our gospel. They came to and stayed with the lamb of God. We must be like Peter, that Christ called the rock. Sure that’s difficult now. Our world still harbours the illusion it doesn’t need God, we can be our own God, make our own laws to suit ourselves, we don’t need to be saved. That world persuades us that Satan doesn’t exist; that sin is Ok. Satan smiles as we rush headlong to doom in body and soul. Do what you like, he says, justify every evil with every argument you can think of. So the blind lead the blind into the ditch.
Yet we still feel guilty when we do wrong. We cant kill the conscience God put in us. Without his forgiveness that inner bother goes on and on; there’s no rest for the wicked scripture says. Maybe its why Psychiatrists are doing a roaring trade today. But they are no help against the ills of the soul, the emptiness of the Spirit without God. There is evil, sin hurts, and our inner devils can only be cast out by the redeeming power of Christ and the living presence of his Holy Spirit in us.
Lets follow Him like the apostles. Lets say like Samuel; speak Lord your servant is listening. For, as Paul says, by only by his power can we rise above sin and soul death. Only the lamb of God who delivered us from inner death by his death, is an everlasting hope. Let’s be wise enough to see this and like the apostles follow him to where he lives in truth, glory, and happiness forever. Sadly, as a wise man said, instead following Christ along the way we’re often by the way or in the way. Lets not be so. For the ways of the world of which Satan is lord turn to dust at last, leaving the soul empty and desolate, but Christ is lord of love, goodness, peace, happiness, beauty, truth and salvation both for this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people secure in the Lord’s arms from all evil, and following him along the way of a full life in every way, we profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
And as God’s people let’s pray for what we need..
For the Holy Father and all church leaders, that following Christ faithfully themselves, they may be a light of faith, goodness, and truth to the whole world..
For civil leaders that they may put no obstacles in the way of the faithful following of Christ in freedom..
For our wonderful youth that they may not walk away from the faith and leave themselves wide open to the machinations of the world, the flesh and the devil, but stay safe in the arms of Christ and his holy church for their lasting happiness..
For ourselves that we may not be deluded by the propaganda of the godless world, but trust in the lord of Life, and like the apostles follow him faithfully along the way to paradise..
For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the oppressed in body, mind or soul that through our faith, care and love they may know the healing love of God and of his Christ in their lives..
For the dead that through our prayers they may attain to full happiness of the Lord with all those who have gone before them in faith to eternal life..
We ask all these our prayers through Christ the only Lord of life, peace, happiness and salvation forever and ever, amen.
You may be familiar with that great classic book, The Lord of the Rings which was made into an award-winning film. Its by J.R.R Tolkien, an orphan who was brought up by his uncle, a Catholic priest. A strong sense of life as a struggle of good and evil comes out in the book. Curiously, its a little Hobbit who saves the world from the Satanic Mordor. All of us are like that Hobbit, small beings yet with a key part in our world’s salvation. We pray to Mother Mary that we will not shun that task..Hail Mary.