Jesus came to give us victory over death and Satan. The core message of the Bible is the good news that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn. 3. 16). Through His Son’s death on the Cross, “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, forgiveness of sins” (Col.1. 13, 14).
As we are journeying through the Solemn Season of Lent, the Church is calling each one of us to check our ways to see whether we are treading on the path of Truth leading us to eternal life in the kingdom of God or whether we are treading on the path of Lie and deception which will lead us to eternal damnation. As the Word of God exhorts us: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord” (Lam. 3.40).
Lent is the Season to reflect on what the wickedness of Evil and our sins have cost the Lord – the most painful Passion, the most heinous and shameful Crucifixion. He willingly embraced the Cross in order to redeem us from the clutches of the Evil. Such was His love for the humanity! But Satan, who is the enemy of man’s salvation, ‘comes disguising himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11. 14).
Quite a number of people are alarmed at the news of ‘warning’ about the End of the Age. Jesus has foretold the signs of the End of the Age 2000 years ago. (Mt. 24. 3- 44; Mk. 13; Lk. 21. 7- 36). Many things are already happening in the world now. But we are not to be alarmed, but only need to prepare to reach our goal by returning to the Lord through our fasting, penance and treading on the ‘narrow path’ that will lead us to heaven, our eternal destiny. Jesus is telling us lovingly: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt. 7. 13, 14)
Also let us take note of what the Word of God reveals about the working of the devil in the end days: The end day “will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2. Thess. 2. 3, 4, 9). Those who choose the lie and the ‘fleeting pleasures’ of this world will be such as revealed by the Holy Spirit: “since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, deceit, and spite. They are gossipers, slanderers, God-haters. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God, that all who practise such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practise them” (Rom. 1. 28-32).
Let us pray for those who are ‘refusing to love the truth and so be saved’, who are brainwashed by the tactics of the Evil and blindly follow the path of destruction. Jesus shed His Precious Blood to save everyone irrespective of caste, creed, language and nation (Rev. 5.9), to redeem all for the kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit reminds us that we need to ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2, 12). “You know what time it is, it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we became believers; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13, 11-14).
Lord, help us in this Season of Lent to make a radical decision to choose your way that will make us mature in you, by living our baptism against the currents of the world. Lord, by choosing the narrow path, and thus discovering the beauty of Christian life and wisdom we are prepared to become fools in the eyes of the world.
Mary Pereira, Fr. J.Mariakumar