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 Long Struggle

February 14, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

February 14, 2016
Luke 4:1-13
Fr. George Smiga

Today’s gospel is a tough one, a tough gospel for Jesus. He is in the desert for forty days. He is hungry. He must face a long battle with Satan. Where is the good news in this story? Where can we find hope for our lives? Let me point to two places. The first is the last line: “When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Jesus for a time.” “That’s good news?” you say, “Doesn’t that mean that although the devil is finished for now, he is coming back? Doesn’t that mean that Jesus will have to struggle with Satan again?” That is exactly what it means. But this line can give us hope.

Sometimes we imagine that our struggle with evil will be quick and easy. But that is not the case. Once the devil is defeated, he intends to come back. If that is true for Jesus, it is certainly true for us. If the devil intends to try again with Jesus, we can be sure that he will try again and again with us. This truth makes it clear that our battle with evil is a lifelong process, and whoever would try to declare victory or defeat on the basis of a single battle is not prepared for the long haul.

Look at our own lives. We have a fault or a habit of sin we are trying to overcome, and we try our best. We seem to be making some progress, gaining some control, and then we fall again. We fail, and we feel weak and worthless. This gospel is telling us that that failure is only one battle. The devil will be back, and the next time with God’s grace we may be able to send him packing. Perhaps there is a dysfunctional relationship in our lives, a relationship that continually causes hurt and anger. So we try to understand, to be strong, to forgive. At times we make progress. We build trust. Then the hurt comes again, and all the anger pours out. We ask, “Why did I even try, what difference did it make?” This gospel reminds us that this failure is only one failure. There will be new opportunities in the future, and healing is not accomplished in a day. When we face the evil that is present in our society—poverty, injustice, violence, ignorance—we try to do our best. Perhaps we help someone to find a job or learn to read. Things seem to be going well. Then there is a disastrous decision or personal set back, and it seems that the little good that we had been able to accomplish is undone. This gospel tells us that those who would take on evil have to be in it for the long haul. Being defeated in one battle does not mean that we have lost for good.

This leads us to the second positive aspect of this gospel. It tells us that Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit. That means that when Jesus had to face Satan, God’s spirit was with him. The same, of course, is true for us.

So this gospel of the temptation of Jesus gives us hope in two ways. First, when we have to face evil in our own lives or in our society, neither victory nor defeat can be achieved in one battle. And secondly, when we have to face Satan, this gospel tells us that we will not stand before him alone.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options