Jesus is victorious over the tempter.
There is no victory like victory. To triumph over the weak and defenseless is considered an abomination. To win over the stronger deserves recognition and honors. But let us speak today of a victory that is not written about in the newspapers, not broadcast on the radio and television, not written about, and will not be written about in history. Let’s talk about the victory over our sin.
Jesus speaks solemn words in the Gospel: “Truly I tell you: All sins shall be forgiven to men, and the blasphemies wherewith they blaspheme. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven eternally, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mk 3:28-29).
It was a grave indictment of the Lord Jesus when He was suspected of collaborating with the powers of evil and the devil. To understand this text, it is not enough to read it superficially. We sense that the Lord Jesus is all about power. The fact is that there is a struggle between good and evil in the world. This struggle had its roots when the devil triumphed over our grandparents and desired to triumph over us.
But the Lord Jesus teaches us that He wants to conquer evil, sin, with us, for that is why He came among us, to become like us in all things, except sin. We see that the Pharisees want to compromise Jesus. They couldn’t stand his popularity among the people. They make up an excuse that he uses Beelzebub to cast out devils. They were blackening him. This is the main idea of today’s Gospel: that Jesus works with the devil and his power from him.
But Jesus tries to explain this wrong attitude of theirs. He affirms that an evil spirit exists. We see that evil exists in various events and forms. In paradise, the devil appears as a serpent to seduce a man to sin. We do not know in what form the devil tempted the Lord Jesus during the 40-day fast. One thing is sure; he wanted to induce him to pride. The Lord Jesus radically instructs us, “Depart Satan… Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Mt. 4:10). The devil does not cease in his activity.
In his letter, the Apostle Peter writes: “Be sober and watch! Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). These and other words lead us to think that we cannot approach temptation lightly and superficially. We know that even the devil has some power, albeit limited, and can use different means and people. We know that he is consistent and persistent. If we drive him away, he comes back a thousand times and does everything to take his victim, to achieve his victory. And the result? Sin never enriches us.
Today the Lord Jesus especially warns us about sins against the Holy Spirit. There are six of them:
1. To presumptuously rely on the mercy of God. It is a sin against hope.
2. To doubt God’s mercy and give way to despair is to sin against hope for those who do not trust God to forgive them.
3. To resist the known truth.
4. To be envious of the grace of God to one’s neighbor.
5. To harden one’s heart against saving admonition.
6. To persevere stubbornly in impenitence.
These sins close the way of the graces of the Holy Spirit to the soul. Can any of these sins make a person happy? When we think about them just a little, we want to say: no! Where can such corruption possibly lead us? One gets confused; one goes mad because one finds no peace anywhere, and there is no escape from remorse. Relying on the Lord God to forgive me anyway does not lead to fighting against weaknesses; on the contrary, one succumbs to them repeatedly, and one becomes a wreck, a ruined existence. To stand openly against the truth is an insult of coarse grain. Not to admit one’s mistake, one’s error, is also an anti-social act. They are thus severe and warning sins for us.
Let us rejoice that, with all our shortcomings, faults, and lapses; we want to struggle, again and again, we want to avoid sin, to abandon and forsake every opportunity to sin. But when we fall, again and again, we also want to get up again.
We are reminded of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. This is a bright and beautiful prospect to a fruitful life here on earth, and one day, indeed, to a blessed reward in the kingdom of God. We see that there is no victory like victory. However, tremendous success is overcoming ourselves and our sin.
Therefore, let us ask our patrons guardian angels and ask the Virgin Mary to help us overcome temptation.
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