Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Christ's Authority over Evil

January 28, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you!

Who is the prophet? Many of us mistakenly think that a prophet is a man who predicts the future, a clairvoyant of sorts. But the word of God today tells us otherwise. The first reading speaks of a prophet as one on whose mouth God puts his words, a man who shall tell people what the Lord commands him. He speaks in the name of the Lord. He is called to be faithful to the word that he had received, and transmit it as such to God’s people.

Called to be the faithful communicator of God’s word (and not his own), his ministry would lead him to primarily denounce evil in all its forms, and call to conversion. The prophets of the Old Testament were men who denounced evil and constantly called people to conversion.

However, these are nothing in comparison with Jesus. The Lord told his people that he shall raise up a prophet like Moses among their kinsmen. This refers to Jesus himself. While the prophets of old spoke in the name of the Lord, the Lord Jesus spoke with authority. “A completely new teaching with a spirit of authority,” so people exclaimed about Jesus. This authority is his own because Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God. This authority cannot be denied even by the evil spirits who said to him: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Not only did Jesus come to call of us to conversion as did all the prophets of old. “The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil.” He commanded the evil spirit to be quiet because evil has no authority as it pretends to have. The real authority over evil is found in Jesus. He is the only one who can command the evil spirit: “Come out of the man!” This is why the people who saw this exorcism were so amazed that they said: “He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey him.” They obey him not because they want to but because they have to. No one can resist the authority of Jesus because all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him by the Father. This is why conversion from evil is really possible for us because Jesus liberated us from the evil one. On our own we cannot free ourselves from the devil. Our human nature is too inferior as compared to the fallen angelic nature. But Christ, the Son of God, is superior to the devil. Therefore, he destroys the power of the devil over us so that we can freely “devote ourselves entirely to the Lord.” The Lord does not simply command us to return to him and change our ways. He destroys the power of the devil and gives us the Holy Spirit so that we can do what is right and avoid what is evil. “He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey him.” We should obey him as well because he has given us the power to do so.

Conversion is possible not because we have the power of the will to do so. Conversion is possible because Christ enables our will to do it. We cannot tell the Lord: Lord, all you do is command us. Not only did he call us to conversion. He gave us the means to do it. Let us not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit he has given to us. Christ is the powerful Word of God. He gives us a completely new teaching in a spirit of authority. Let us devote ourselves entirely to the Lord and thereby be free of all worries. 

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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