The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

The Devil’s Agenda

March 10, 2019   Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

March 10, 2019
Luke 4: 1-13
Fr. George Smiga

I do not think that the devil spends much of his time tempting us to sin. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think the devil is pleased when we lose patience with our children or when we throw out some cruel remark to a family member or co-worker. But the popular notion that the devil is always hovering around, waiting to entrap us is, I think, greatly overblown. This is because the devil has bigger fish to fry. The devil’s agenda is not to entice us into personal sin. The devil’s agenda is to rule the world. The devil’s focus is not to encourage our individual faults. But the devil is deeply committed to seeing that our world remains enslaved to injustice, violence, and every other kind of evil. We can see this clearly in today’s gospel. The devil presents all the kingdoms of the world before Jesus in a single instant and then he boasts, “I will give you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me and I may give it to whomever I wish.”  The devil knows that his power extends to the four corners of the earth, and he wants to keep it that way.

Jesus does not.  This is what the battle is about in today’s gospel. It is not so much tempting Jesus into personal sin as it is a battle over who is going to rule the world—Satan or Jesus. Jesus of course wins the battle in the desert and his victory is a foretaste of the victory that we will celebrate at the end of Lent during Holy Week. At the very heart of Christianity is the Paschal Mystery, the belief that God, through Christ, has broken the back of Satan’s rule. Even though the devil remains active in our world today, we believe a day will come when all evil will be destroyed. Then the rule of Satan will be replaced by the Kingdom of God.

So, the struggle between Satan and Jesus is cosmic. It is earth-shattering. The scope of this battle is a very good lens through which to view our Lenten journey. As we consider our Lenten practices, the size of the battle between Jesus and Satan encourages us to think big.

Is there a hurt in your family that has been festering for years and continually complicates family meetings and communications? Perhaps this Lent we should take that hurt on and try again to understand and perhaps heal it. Lent could be a time to speak to the people who are wounded in your family and encourage them to find a path to forgiveness. I assure you that if your family can take even one step towards forgiveness, it will be a greater blow against Satan’s power than if you had decided for Lent to give up chocolate.

Are there issues in our society that you feel are wrong and have troubled you for some time: the growing acceptance of abortion, the treatment of immigrants at our borders, the mishandling of sexual abuse on the part of our church leadership? Perhaps this Lent, you should address one of those issues. Perhaps you could more fully inform yourself about it and give of your time or money to support an initiative that is trying to correct it. I assure you that even a small move to reduce the power of such evils in our world would be a greater threat to Satan than if you had decided to lose a few pounds before Easter.

The devil thinks big and so should we. Let us consider Lenten practices that attack the very structures of Satan’s power. Because it is by such choices that we can bring Satan’s rule a day closer to its destruction.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options