"There appeared in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit that shrieked." —Mark 1:23
As we begin "ordinary" time, we are already reading about Jesus driving out demons. Throughout the year, we will hear reading after reading about the Lord's victory over the evil one. We will meet Michael the archangel and several saints, who were each victorious over the evil one. At the Masses on Easter Sunday, in every Catholic church in the world, the Church will invite us to publicly renounce Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises.
What are we to make of all these references to the devil? Because of the effects of secular humanism on us, we are tempted to consider the traditions of the Church and the Bible to be backward and unenlightened. This modern attitude is so arrogant that it serves as a good example of Satan's deceptions, even while it denies such things. However, to be intellectually honest, we must admit that the Church and the Bible intend to be taken literally when they speak of Satan.
Christianity believes that Satan is a rebellious angel. He is not symbolic or just an evil force. He is a creature with a will and intelligence. Satan has several thousands or even millions of other fallen angels in his company. These are called "demons" or "devils." They are real and powerful. They would destroy us if not for Jesus, but we can drive them out by Jesus' power (Mk 16:17; Mt 10:1).
Prayer: Father, throughout this year may I fix my eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and expel demons (Mk 16:17).
Promise: "We do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death." —Heb 2:9
Praise: St. Hilary was praised by Sts. Augustine and Jerome as "a fair cedar transplanted out of this world into the Church."
Reference: (Let's reject Satan, his evil works, and sin rather than rejecting Jesus and His good works. For a related teaching, order our leaflet Do You Renounce Satan? or on audio AV 44-1 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014
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