GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY – 4TH AUGUST 2016
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 4TH AUGUST 2016
THURSDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
(MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY, PRIEST)
1ST READING: Jeremiah 31:31-34
PSALM: Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19
GOSPEL: Matthew 16:13-23
THEME: BEGONE SATAN!
The last words of Fr. Jacques Hamel, the French priest who was gruesomely murdered last week while celebrating the Holy Eucharist, were made known by Archbishop Dominique Lebrun at the funeral mass that took place last Tuesday. In his homily, the archbishop is reported to have said, “Evil is a mystery. It culminates in horrific moments that takes us beyond what is human. Is not that what you meant, Jacques, with your last words? You fell to the ground after the first stab; you tried to push your attacker with your feet, and you said, ‘Go away, Satan.’ Again you said, ‘Begone, Satan.’ In this you expressed your faith in humanity, created good, but gripped by the devil.”
Jesus in our Gospel text tells Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Mat 16:18). Yes, from the time of Peter till now, over two thousand years, the gates of the underworld have sought to overpower the church in diverse ways but have not succeeded. Many have lost their lives as martyrs but as Tertullian is quoted as saying, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”.
The last words of Fr. Jacques, “Begone Satan” is akin to that of Jesus in our Gospel text, “Get behind me Satan” (Mat 16:23). Our real fight is not with any human person or organization. Our fight is with that ancient serpent called the devil.
St. John Vianney, whose memorial we celebrate today, was often tormented by the devil who tried to stop him from spreading the good news of salvation. On numerous occasions he was subjected, even outwardly to the molestations of the evil one. The secret of his victory over evil was a life of prayer and love.
We fight evil not with hatred but with love and prayer. You too can overcome evil in any form as you invest more of your energy in prayer and love.
Lead us not into temptation, oh Lord, but deliver us from evil. Amen
Fr. Andrews Obeng, SVD
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