What are the obstacles to the fuller coming of God's Kingdom into our world? Frequently they are summarized as "the world, the flesh and the devil." "The world" stands for external cultural attitudes militating against living for God and others, such as secularism, individualism, materialism. "The flesh" stands for internal personal dividedness inhibiting our free response to the Spirit, such as the capital sins of pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, lust. And "the devil" is, well, the devil, Satan. A formidable triad!
Today's Gospel focuses on the third member of the triad, Satan. Jesus and his culture acknowledge the existence of preternatural forces -- the devil -- that work mightily against God's Kingdom. Indeed, the Gospels spend considerable time showing that Jesus' power as God's messiah is not limited or threatened by the power of Satan. Whatever current debates go on in our post-modern age concerning the existence or non-existence of demons, the Gospels assure us that the power of Jesus is always superior to the power of Satan.
We have been saved from domination by evil -- from whatever source -- by the death and resurrection of Jesus. What comfort to know that the presence of Christ in us is stronger than any power of evil that may assail us whether from "the world, the flesh or the devil." This is indeed good news!
By Dick Hauser