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The Epic Battle

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This week had me pondering the epic battle of good versus evil. For me, the devil is real. The devil is not a person or living thing. The devil is an embodiment of all things that are the opposite of God. It is a detail of a bigger picture, a detail found in how people treat one another. I came to appreciate the reality of the devil not through folklore and scary stories, but through deeper understanding of free will and sin. I always tried to help my students understand that God created all things with love and goodness. All things are inherently good. He gave us everything we need to be good and do good. He gave us grace, reason, and a conscience. He even gave us His son. But beyond that, He loves us so much, that He also gave us free will. We are not bound but free to do what we wish even though His greatest wish is for us to be with Him. We can choose good or evil. We are always being pulled in one direction or another. The measure of those decisions is our closeness or distance from God and one another. The devil would prefer us to be separated from God. One can’t help but see how our world is falling farther and farther away from God as we live in the post-Christian era of modern times and the effect it is having on our way of life. We are growing more suspicious, distrusting, selfish, angry, and all manner of other disagreeable adjectives. With this, I turn to Scripture. In the temptation of Christ in Luke 4: 6-8 , the devil takes Jesus and shows him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant and says, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me” and Jesus says, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Jesus turned down the offer. This means the devil is in charge and remains in charge except for those who ally themselves with God. The devil is real. Jesus does not need the devil. Jesus is all-powerful and mighty. Good does prevail. Always. Jesus gave His life to make sure of it.

St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God,
Thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits,
Who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Posted by Jill Fischer
Tags: jesus, god, evil, devil

The Chosen

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A few months ago, I was needing to let my brain quiet down for a bit and started looking for a brainless show to watch on TV. I recalled hearing about the series called “The Chosen,” so I searched for it. I watched the first episode, then the second. I am now in love with this series. For those that do not know what the series is, it is about the life of Jesus. As a child, I grew up watching the TV mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth,” which was the quintessential telling of the life of Jesus at the time. My brothers and I watched it every time it was on even though we knew how it would go. We even recorded it on our VHS so we could watch it whenever we wanted. (I know, I am dating myself terribly there and sounding like a total nerd.) When I began teaching, I took those VHS recordings to school and shared them with my students during Holy Week. I loved that I could quote Scripture while watching the Gospel come to life. “The Chosen” captures me in an entirely different way. The gospels scripted “Jesus of Nazareth.” It isn’t the same with “The Chosen” even though the gospel is there. It is more of the inspiration and guide than it is the script. I am finding myself falling in love with my faith all over again by watching it. The cast of characters that we all know have become so real, so human. I find myself laughing and crying while I watch. I am completely captivated by it all. What I am seeing is exactly how I imagined things to be when I take time to ponder the gospels. I am transported to a different place and find myself desperately wanting to be with Jesus. Is that weird? I am falling deeper in love with Jesus because of this show. My faith is being reinvigorated and restored. I highly recommend it.

Posted by Jill Fischer

Our Superhero

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! This sounds like a title for a superhero.  Jesus is our superhero!  In Dn. 7:1314, powerful language and strong adjectives are used that demonstrates a power and majesty that one would expect from a superhero:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;  all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

In Revelations 1:5-8, Jesus is describe as "the faithful witness.” Being a faithful witness implies that He is not forefront and dominant but more supportive. In John 18:33-37, Jesus is shown as powerful and confident, but completely humble. There is a contrast to Jesus that challenges what it means to be a superhero by modern standards. Jesus doesn’t fight. Jesus doesn’t boast. Jesus doesn’t argue. Fighting, boasting, and arguing are all things that we would expect a superhero to do when confronting an enemy. We would expect a superhero to fight back against the tyranny and misguided justice being demonstrated at this point in the story.

Not our superhero! Jesus does exactly what He has taught us to do. He models surrender. He models dignity. He models integrity. Jesus participates in His trial, taking in stride all that He is being subjected to because He knows it is the will of the Father. He rises to the occasion in a manner that results in a much greater reward than what would have occurred had He fought back. He exudes a power and might beyond human understanding. Indeed, He did fight back by subjecting Himself to the wood of the cross. His defense was to succumb, thus dominate over all. Death gained reward, a reward of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Isn’t that what a superhero does, lays down their life to save others? Let’s give a triumphant cheer for Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! The feast day today sounds like the introduction for a superhero.  Jesus is our superhero, especially when watching the progression of how He is described from the first reading, to the second reading, to the gospel. The first reading uses very powerful language and strong adjectives that demonstrates a power and majesty that one would expect from a superhero:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;  all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

The second reading starts to change the tone a little. While it references phrases from the first reading, the lead sentence, “Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,” shifts perspective. No longer is the Son of Man exuding power as we would expect from a superhero, but more of the humility that is indicative of the sidekick.  Being a faithful witness implies that He is not forefront and dominant but more supportive. This is a curious shift as the Gospel then shows Jesus powerful and confident, but completely humble. There is a contrast to Jesus that challenges what it means to be a superhero by modern standards. Jesus doesn’t fight. Jesus doesn’t boast. Jesus doesn’t argue. Fighting, boasting, and arguing are all things that we would expect a superhero to do when confronting an enemy. We would expect a superhero to fight back against the tyranny and misguided justice being demonstrated at this point in the story.

Not our superhero! Jesus does exactly what He has taught us to do. He models surrender. He models dignity. He models integrity. Jesus participates in His trial, taking in stride all that He is being subjected to because He knows it is the will of the Father. He rises to the occasion in a manner that results in a much greater reward than what would have occurred had He fought back. He exudes a power and might beyond human understanding. Indeed, He did fight back by subjecting Himself to the wood of the cross. His defense was to succumb, thus dominate over all. Death gained reward, a reward of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Isn’t that what a superhero does, lays down their life to save others? Let’s give a triumphant cheer for Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!

 

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