In today’s Gospel we see a principle happening of which Jesus later teaches. Jesus is leading people to understand that a whole new covenant is coming and He is testing them to see if they are ready. There is a reason for this, many people do not understand. Later in the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul explains his words for today well. When we are baptized, we are Baptized into the Kingdom of God. Paul, throughout his writings indicates strongly what this means. He calls us citizens of the Kingdom of God, ambassadors, he also writes later in Ephesians, which is the source of the second reading, calls us to understand that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle.
What is the Battle for? Souls!! Bringing souls into the Kingdom of God.
We as Catholics are not universalists. That means we do not believe that salvation is a done deal. It is not that we have to earn salvation, but that we have to continually choose it by being whom we are baptized to be, agents of the Kingdom of God.
Everything we do is for the glory of God that all may be saved. Therefore, our whole way of being must be different than the rest of the world. Further, if the rest of the world does not listen to Christ through the Holy Spirit then they will be conquered by the spirit of the World.
St. John Chrysostom put it well, when he, explaining Paul’s words—specifically his use of the word evil—says that evil of the body is called sickness, evil of the soul is called wickedness. Wickedness is an intensive way of narcissistic thinking that destroys others. The worst form of wickedness is that which appears to be done by an agent of darkness appearing as an angel of light. Discernment helps us to understand the difference.
St. Paul explains for us to avoid this wickedness is to be enlightened by the wisdom of God. It is then we can be what St. John describes as conquerors of the world. What that means is the conquerors of the spirit of the world.
This is what our faith is all about, remember it is not about good people go to Heaven and bad to Hell, but growing as lights to the world that those in darkness may see the light of Christ and come to the Kingdom of God.
This is what our Church is all about, this is what everything we do here is all about, to allow ourselves to be enlightened so that we can act as agents of the kingdom of God and lead people out of darkness.
The prime element that Christ gives us to do this is through the Sacraments. Especially the Eucharist. Now there is something I want to help you understand. If Jesus gave himself on the cross that we may be saved, then what a horrible thing it must be from which we were saved that he had to go through all that, so we would find salvation. More so, if Jesus is giving us His flesh that we may become strong agents of His kingdom, then how fierce must that enemy be who wants to destroy the soul of everyone here and everyone outside.
Do not forget this.
When I was in the Navy I heard the stupidest sentence ever. I was asked if I wanted to work with nuclear weapons and I said no because I did not want to push the button, have five people left in the world and they look at me as the one who pushed the button.
It was then that the officer who asked me that question responded with his answer: These are not large nuclear bombs, they are only about the size of the Hiroshima Bomb. I was shocked by the aloof statement and responded “Sir, that killed a hundred thousand people in four seconds, no.”
We all know the horror of the atomic and nuclear bombs, we know the destruction that they can do. Yet everything we can see that they are was the result of wickedness of soul. Why did we drop the bombs? To stop the war. Why did the war begin: wickedness of soul. Yet as horrible as those bombs are the evil that wants to destroy us is even more powerful, that is why we need the nourishment from Jesus Christ Himself to fight it. It is not what we see in movies, but what we see in everything that destroys the human being.
We also know that this force is also seeking to destroy the Church, as we speak. It is an evil force, that gets in by making itself look like light but becomes darkness.
The Lord gave us the Eucharist so that we might be able to fight the forces that seek to destroy all those around us. These are the forces that sound intelligent but are the words of the fool. That is important because the Bible teaches that it is the fool who says, “there is no God”. But fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
What is the way to tell the difference between who is the fool and who is wise? Jesus taught us that too, when he said: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
When we embrace the ways Christ gives to us in the Sacraments we embrace the wisdom that will lead us to what is called holiness. However, never forget, every soul you meet this week is at stake and those forces of wickedness against which we fight want to destroy every one.
Come to receive the Eucharist, if you are not in a state of grace, go to confession during the week and come next week, for the Lord calls you at your baptism and confirmation into a mighty battle and against a formidable foe, which is far more powerful that one hundred Hiroshima bombs and more destructive.