1st Sunday of Lent - homily
“Get away Satan!” Jesus says these words in response to the Devil’s temptations and lies, and the Devil leaves him. I wish I had said these words during our last DC ‘Hood game! We were playing against a parish team that was very competitive and they had a couple of players who were trying to get me riled up. I gave into the temptation of pride and played a bit more competitively than I should.
DC ‘Hood is such a great thing, thanks be to God. It’s always a great night for families, especially kids. Our last game was a great night and the kids enjoyed it; we even showed a video on the priesthood that is very powerful. A priest on our team said after the game that the Devil is not happy with what we’re doing and that he is trying to break it up. He might be trying to tempt us with pride and too much competitiveness, and to take away from the good spirit of the games. I need to work on this and just be cool during the games.
Jesus says three words and the Devil leaves Him. That’s the power that He has; we don’t have power over Satan but Jesus does. It’s only when we call upon the name of Jesus and live in Him that we can resist the temptations of the Devil. Normally, the Devil acts invisibly in our world. He makes a rare outward appearance in today’s Gospel. There are many situations in our lives and in the world where the Devil is active but we may not notice him. Here are some situations where we can say what Jesus said, “Get away, Satan!”
Get away, Satan, from our courts. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that unborn children are human beings, not persons. I remember studying their decision in college and being floored by it. They actually had several criteria which determine whether someone is a human being or a person. They ruled that unborn children are not persons and so they don’t have the rights of persons, specifically the right to life. They gave into temptation for whatever reason – historical or political motivations or whatever. The Catechism says that the fruit of temptation ultimately is death. Since 1973, 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States.
Get away, Satan, from our politicians, especially the ones who used to be pro-life and are now pro-choice. They have given into the temptation to abandon their principles in order to advance their political career; we would figuratively say that they have sold their souls to the Devil. Some of them are still very prominent in our country. Some of us will be tempted to vote for pro-choice candidates this year. Again, the fruit of temptation is death.
Get away, Satan, from our schools. In many of our schools, God has been kicked out, prayer and moral teaching are gone. What has come in is immoral teaching, especially in sex education. Many of our schools teach and promote contraception and immoral, illicit sexual behavior.
Get away, Satan, from our culture. The Church has aptly named it a “culture of death”. We see so many examples every day of how prominent drugs and violence are in our society. It’s a culture that says life is disposable at every stage, starting with conception.
Get away, Satan, from our families. The family is the most important unit in the world and it is under great attack. There is so much division in families for several reasons; divorce is at the top of the list. The best weapon against the attacks of the Devil is prayer; the family that prays together stays together.
Get away, Satan, from our faith. Many people have given into the temptation to believe that there is no God…there is no Truth…there is no sin. Many Catholics believe, for example, that skipping Mass on Sunday is not a sin, or that leaving early from Mass without a good reason is not a sin.
Finally, get away, Satan, from the Eucharist. The Devil knows the power of the Eucharist and he hates the Eucharist. We see how he has attacked the Church. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, there was one Church and all Christians believed that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. Now, we have 30,000 Christian denominations and only two believe in and have the Eucharist: the Catholic and Orthodox churches. On top of that, we know of stories where demons have literally come into churches and desecrated the Eucharist.
I say all of this not to scare us or to paralyze us with fear. I say all of this to make us more aware of the presence of the Devil in our world and to have a holy fear of his power. As we unite with Jesus in the Eucharist today, let us ask Him to help us with the temptations in our lives. Let us say the words that He said for ourselves, our families, our country, and our world: Get away, Satan!