Thursday October 318, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Ephesians 6:10-20) Gospel (St. Luke 13:31-35)
In the Gospel reading today, Our Lord speaks of Herod and of Jerusalem and He tells them that He has His work to do today and tomorrow, and then on the third day He will accomplish His purpose. In so doing, what He is basically letting them know is exactly what Saint Paul said: that our battle is not against the rulers of this world but against the principalities and powers, the rulers in the high places, and the evil spirits of the heavens. So it is not against Herod (because He was not afraid of Herod) but rather it was against the evil spirits that He was battling. And Jerusalem needed to be able to recognize what was happening spiritually, as Our Lord tells them that He casts out demons and performs healings and then on the third day He accomplishes His purpose. It is the Crucifixion, His Passion, and His Cross that are going to be the means of healing, that are going to be the means by which the demons are cast away. His ultimate purpose is accomplished, then, in His Resurrection on the third day.
For each one of us, Saint Paul says that we have at our disposal all of these pieces of armor. We have everything of the Lord’s Passion; we have His Cross; we have the Word of God; we have salvation; we have all of it. We can clothe ourselves in all of these pieces of armor because it is a spiritual battle that we are fighting.
The problem is that Satan has in many ways gotten the upper hand, not so much because of all the evil that we see around us, but rather he has gotten the upper hand in the lives of many people who want to call themselves good Catholics because he has managed to convince them that he does not exist – or at least if he does exist he is really not a problem anyway, therefore, we do not need to worry about him, we do not need to clothe ourselves in the armor of God, we do not need to fight against that. And so, Satan just tramples all over them because they are not prepared for battle. They do not have themselves ready because they are not clothed in the armor which God has given us because they do not think that the enemy you need that armor for is a threat – exactly what the enemy wants them to believe!
Satan is a threat. He is alive and he is doing very well, as is quite evident by any little glance that you make around the world. All you need to do is look at your own life and you are going to see that he is very much alive and doing quite well also. We need to arm ourselves. The battle is heating up and if we are not prepared we are going to be lost. God has given us everything. And, above all, what we need to do is immerse ourselves into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. We need to be clinging to the Cross of Jesus Christ and to His Precious Blood. That is – above all else – what we need. But we need to be deep in prayer, we need to be deep in the Scriptures, we need to be firm in faith because otherwise when things happen we are going to be shaken badly and we are not going to be able to survive. So we need to do our part. God has done everything and He has given each one of us the grace that we need to be able to recognize what is happening and to be able to prepare ourselves with His help for the battle that is heating up.
And so the question is, are we willing to fight? Or do we want this wimpy Christianity that has been preached for the last who-knows-how-many years that simply suggests that we do not need to fight? “We don’t need to fight against the powers of the world, we don’t need to fight against the temptations of the flesh, and more than anything, we certainly don’t need to fight against Satan and his legions because they don’t really exist.” It is nonsense and it is diabolical. The battle that we are heating up for, on the other hand, is the battle against Satan and against the powers and principalities and against the rulers in the high places and the rulers of darkness.
We need to be on the side of light. Our Lord, who is the Light of the World, has given us everything that we need to overcome the darkness because the darkness cannot overcome the light. So we have everything at our disposal if only we are willing to take advantage of it, if we are willing to put on the armor which Our Lord has given us and enter into His Passion and Death so that His work will be accomplished on the third day.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.