THE STRONG VERSUS THE STRONGER MAN

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2011

(Part 26)

THE STRONG VERSUS THE STRONGER MAN

 

March 31, 2011

Today’s reading: Luke 11:14-23

 

 

In today’s gospel, the strong man is Satan. He is fully armed and guards his palace, keeping his possessions safe (Lk 11:21). Satan is a powerful being, for he was Lucifer, the greatest of angels, before he rebelled against God and was thrown out of heaven and became Satan. Now he is implacably set against God and committed to destroy whatever is of God. He has dominion over the whole world (1 Jn 5:19), and zealously protects what is his, while continually assaulting the kingdom of God in order to expand his territory.

When we do the work of evangelization, we are thrust into combat against this kingdom of darkness. The intent of evangelization is to bring souls from out of Satan’s dominion and into the kingdom of God. As such, to evangelize is to assault the kingdom of darkness. As such, evangelizers come face-to-face with Satan himself.

Being the greatest of angels though now fallen, Satan still is powerful. On our own we cannot defeat him. How then do we cope? We can only do so in the strength of God. It is Jesus who is the stronger man. It is he, who through us his human instruments, attacks and overwhelms the enemy, takes away his armor and distributes the spoils (Lk 11:22).

 

Now in this war, there is no middle ground. You are either with Jesus or against him (Lk 11:23a). Why is that? If we are good people, trying to do no wrong to our neighbor, and in fact perhaps doing some good in the world, but we do not evangelize, then by our inaction (evangelization), we allow the situation of Satan’s dominion over the world to persist. If the world is under the dominion of Satan, and the only way to set his captives free is through the work of evangelization, then our failure to evangelize results in souls remaining under captivity to Satan. Then we serve Satan’s interests and not God’s. Then in effect we are not with Jesus but against him.

And so Jesus also says that “whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Lk 11:23b). If we do not work to gather God’s flock and bring them back into His sheepfold, then we in effect are responsible for keeping them scattered, easy prey for the wolf or devouring lion.

 

God reiterates His original call to us in CFC-FFL to be His evangelizers and missionaries. Every CFC-FFL member is to be an evangelizer. We exist to evangelize and do mission. If we do not evangelize, then we in effect align ourselves with the camp of the enemy. If we are not an active combatant on the side of God, then we are not even just neutral in the war, but become a collaborator, perhaps unwittingly, on the side of Satan.

So we evangelize. But in assaulting the kingdom of the strong man, we rely fully on the stronger man, Jesus. Once we start relying on ourselves, then we make ourselves weaker, and ultimately cannot withstand the counter-assault of Satan.

As we face the work of this third millennium, with 30 years of experience under our belt, let us always look to Jesus. In our work of evangelization, let us always look to be able to say, “My God is now my strength!”

 

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