Daily Reflection for Thursday, October 27, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Thursday’s readings at this link: CLICK HERE
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144:1B, 2, 9-10
Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
Our reflection on Thursday’s reading:
“In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.” Ephesians 6:16
It’s Halloween season and kids are gearing up for a night of fun, trick or treating with their friends. I have noticed over the last several years that the amount of Halloween decorating has really taken off. Witches, ghosts, and devils abound in the yards and trees of suburban America in October. Maybe this is one of the reasons that I have always had trouble relating to readings like this. I find myself shrugging off passages about people possessed by demons or clashes with the Prince of Darkness. It seems like some long-ago superstition or something out of the realm of a horror movie. The Church teaches that the Devil is real and actively seeks to undermine the souls of the faithful, but my 21st century logic wants me to downplay these teachings. Yet there are so many references to Satan and the Devil in the Bible that it can’t simply be a metaphor. Contemplating my hesitation and discomfort with thoughts of demons and devils, I am reminded of a nineteenth century saying made famous in the movie, The Usual Suspects, that “the greatest trick that the Devil pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.”
The sad reality of our world is that there is evil in it and mankind has a great capacity to commit evil. On the flip side, there is also great love in the world and we have that same capacity to channel God’s love through our lives and actions. Just as God is the source of love, so too is the Devil the source of evil. Evil is insidious because it starts with actions that don’t feel so bad at first. Often they’re small temptations–a lustful thought, a muttered curse at someone who has irritated us, a doubt about someone’s intentions, anger over some perceived slight, or just selfish indignation. They’re things that often are known only to us, but if those attitudes and thoughts are too easily dismissed or not recognized as sinful, then these notions are allowed to take root. They become normalized and soon may lead to more serious sins. We become calloused to our own faults and our ego begins to justify these actions as acceptable. We tell ourselves that we’re not that bad. We compare ourselves to others and are proud that we’re not like them. I think that the devil is rooted in our ego.
We have to fight this battle against our own ego and our own selfishness, but fortunately we are not alone. God has provided so many avenues to protect us from the temptations that are constantly bombarding us–prayer, Eucharist, the Mass, the love and support of friends and family. If we rely on God’s protective power and love, then we will be able to withstand the rot and corruption that can creep in when evil is allowed to take root. If we rely on His Word, His love, and His Son, then we can clear our souls of these poisonous weeds and cultivate good fruit. It is not easy and we will stumble. The Evil One will succeed in tempting us as he did Adam and Eve. Fortunately, we can be healed with God’s mercy through reconciliation and seek to shore up our defenses yet again.
Today stand strong against the temptations of this world and seek to do good. Examine your conscience for the small barbs of the Tempter that can poison our souls if left unchecked and seek the redeeming love of God.
Peace and blessings,