Jesus welcomes back the seventy-two disciples whom he had dispatched with his power to heal paired with the announcement of the Kingdom of God. The results everywhere they went must have been spectacular for they report to Jesus “even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” And Jesus’ reply is equally enthusiastic; “ I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.”
Just reading our daily newspaper and seeing the evening news and just living in our declining culture can stir up within us a longing for signs of that same healing power in our midst.
The signs of Satan’ intense activity today are many. And when humanity tries to solve our major problems with only human planning and action we fall further into the chaos of evil.
Only with God first in our personal lives and in our national life can we succeed against the influence and evil from Satan. Denial of God and denial of Satan both play elegantly into Satan’s purposes.
Job, in our first reading today answered the Lord, “ I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.” And we might then ask the age old question of why evil still exists today after Christ’s work of salvation, and why does God permit Satan to so try us and deceive us, and mislead humanity. When we ponder this, like Job we too are dealing with great things we do not understand. Somehow a deeper understand of the problem of evil in the world lies in the mystery of the interplay of God’s Mercy and God’s Justice, in the interweaving of God’s compassion for our weak humanity and his righteous anger. These and other mysteries, however, are enveloped within God’s deep abiding love for his human children. The economy of salvation allows Satan’s presence on earth in order to achieve God’s plan of maximizing the saving work of Jesus on the cross.
Our weak understanding of these matters leads us to rely on three truths that God speaks to us throughout salvation; “I am with you”, “I love you.” and “Trust me.”
- Fr. Patrick Geinzer, C.P.
St. Paul of the Cross Monastery and Retreat Center