Spiritual Childhood

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
(Luke 10:17-24)

Scripture Study

10:18 I saw Satan fall: The rapid advance of God’s kingdom through the disciples’ preaching and exorcistic ministry is matched by the downfall and retreat of the devil (11:20; 13:16; Rev 12:7–9).

10:20 written in heaven: The saints are enrolled in God’s heavenly “book of life” (cf. Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28; Dan 12:1; Rev 3:5). Disciples should therefore rejoice more because of their sonship in God’s family than because of their successful missions.

10:22 Jesus is the divine Son of God and, so, the heir of his Father’s authority and estate (Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; 17:2). ● The Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in being, and no one of them possesses more of the divine life and knowledge than another. Since the Son is no less perfect than the Father, he is uniquely qualified to reveal the inner life of the Trinity to the world (Jn 1:18; 14:9) (CCC 253, 2603).

10:24 desired to see what you see For centuries, the righteous among God’s people had desired to see the arrival of God’s kingdom (compare Luke 2:25–26). 

Scripture Reflection

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”
(Lk 10:21)

Jesus reveals one of the effects of humility—spiritual childhood – as noted in another passage from the Gospel of Matthew: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We must understand however, that spiritual childhood does not involve weakness, softness or ignorance.

St Josemaría Escrivá, in Christ Passing By, spoke on the life of spiritual childhood. “To become children, we must renounce our pride and self-sufficiency, recognizing that we can do nothing by ourselves. We must realize that we need grace, and the help of God our Father to find our way and keep to it. To be little, you must abandon yourself as children do, believe as children believe.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

O Lord, Deliver Us

O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.

Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
(Psalm 79:1-2, 3-5, 8, 9)

Scripture Study

79:1 the nations Throughout this psalm, the psalmist focuses on foreign powers around Israel (vv. 6, 12). your inheritance This may refer to God’s temple, the land of Israel, or the people of Israel (compare 94:5, 14).

79:2 the corpses of your servants Unburied corpses represented total military defeat. Corpses were understood to defile people, land, and sacred spaces (e.g., Num 19:11–22). Scattering bones around a sacred site also defiled it (e.g., Ezek 6:5).

79:3 They have poured out their blood Blood was understood as defiling the land (Num 35:33). Jerusalem The location of the temple and also the center of the land of Israel. If Jerusalem and the temple are defiled, all of Israel has been defiled.

79:5 Will you be angry forever The psalmist views God’s failure to punish Israel’s enemies as His displeasure and judgment (Deut 28:15–68).

79:8 iniquities of the past The psalmist depicts Israel’s suffering at the hands of foreigners as God’s judgment on their sins. He pleads for forgiveness. See Deut 5:8–10.

79:9 the glory of your name Israel will praise God after He rescues them. Then Israel’s proclamation of His goodness will strengthen His reputation. pardon our sins The psalmist asks that God not hold Israel’s sin against them. The Hebrew word used here, kaphar, means “to cover.” It has the sense of covering iniquities or sin to avert punishment. for your name’s sake The psalmist pleads that God defend His reputation by delivering His people. Emphasizes intimate knowledge of God rather than a particular label for God.

Scripture Reflection

The psalmist acknowledges that the evils that have befallen them are due to God’s anger at their sins, both their own sins and those of their forebears; but he argues that the worst sin is that of the Gentiles in not acknowledging God and in laying Israel to waste. Therefore, he asks God to re-direct his wrath. He pleads for forgiveness on the grounds that things have reached their limit, appealing to God’s fidelity to his love as manifested in the Covenant, in his ‘name.’

In the history of salvation, God was not content to deliver Israel ‘out of the house of bondage’ by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offense against God, only he can forgive it. For this reason, Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.
– James Gavigan

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

A Missionary Church

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
(Luke 10:1-12)

Scripture Study

10:1 Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples Some manuscripts report 70 disciples; others have 72. Appointed in addition to the Twelve, these disciples serve as heralds of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God.

10:2 The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few Describes the large number of people ready to receive Jesus’ kingdom message and the relatively few people available to share the message of the kingdom of God. to send out laborers for his harvest Sets the stage for the instructions that follow.

10:4 Carry no money bag They were to rely on God for their provisions.

10:6 If a peaceful person Refers to a believer. Peace is used throughout Luke in reference to God’s blessing (e.g., 2:14; 7:50; 8:48). it will return to you The initial greeting or blessing would not take effect on the house or its inhabitants.

10:7 Stay in the same house The Twelve should not be concerned with procuring better accommodations, which would be offensive to their hosts.

10:11 we shake off against you A sign of protest and a warning of impending judgment

10:12 on that day Refers to the day of judgment (see v. 14).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel, taken from the magnificent 10th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, is a portrait of the Church. It shows us what Jesus wants his followers to be doing and how to do it. Listen to how the passage begins: “The Lord appointed a further seventy-two and sent them in pairs before him to every town and place he intended to visit”.

We are a missionary church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Christian Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit. Rather, it is like seed that we are meant to give away.

He sends them two by two. We do this work together, with others, in community. Ministers need people to support them, pray for them, talk to them, challenge them. Francis has an experience of God and then, within months, gathers people around him; Dominic, from the beginning, has brothers in his work. Mother Teresa attracts a number of her former students to join her in her mission. We don’t go it alone.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

The Cost of Discipleship

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:57-62)

Scripture Study

This episode combines several short sayings of Jesus. As He travels toward Jerusalem, people respond in various ways to His call for discipleship. Jesus emphasizes that His followers must be willing to face hardships and make sacrifices.

9:58 Son of Man Jesus’ most common way of referring to Himself Jesus uses this self-designation more than any other; it comes from the ot book of Daniel (see Dan 7:13 and note). This title occurs 30 times in the Gospel of Matthew and often stresses the exaltation of Jesus. Here, however, it highlights His position as a homeless itinerant.

9:60 Let the dead bury their dead The call to discipleship takes precedence over all other duties. The exchange here is similar to one in Luke 9:59–62. In both passages, potential disciples hesitate in light of their earthly responsibilities. However, Jesus is concerned with discipleship, not familial obligations.

9:62 No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind Followers of Jesus must have a singular focus on the work of God’s kingdom. This may be an allusion to 1 Kgs 19:19–21.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel for today is an especially good exemplification of the principle of detachment. When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then everything else finds its place around him, in relation to him. And anything that would assert itself and take his position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.

We watch as Jesus clarifies for his disciples how a number of worldly goods fall away, once he is recognized as Lord. I want to look closely at one of these. As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, a man approaches him and says, “I will follow you wherever you go”. And Jesus makes the laconic remark, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”. One of the things, quite naturally, that we savor is home, a place to stay, a nest, a man-cave. There is just something uniquely awful about being displaced, about starting all over. We all want a place to lay our heads.

But if Jesus is first in our lives, then we cannot absolutize this good thing. We have to be willing to follow him wherever he wants us to go.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

God Is With Us

His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!

I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those that know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”

They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
(Psalm 87:1-3, 4-5, 6-7)

Scripture Study

87:1 the holy mountains Refers to Mount Zion, the temple mount in Jerusalem. Zion’s Place in Israelite Religion

87:2 Zion Another name for Jerusalem in general or the temple mount specifically.

87:3 O city of God Zion and Jerusalem are often used interchangeably as names for God’s sacred city. Jerusalem was associated with God’s presence because the temple was located there on Mount Zion.

87:4 The psalmist speaks in the persona of Israel and depicts conversation between Israel and the surrounding nations. The neighboring nations focus on Jerusalem and emphasize Israel’s unique relationship to the holy city (and the God who dwells there). those who know the LORD The psalmist personifies the nations as individuals.

Babylon An international power that eventually destroyed the southern kingdom of Judah (586 bc) and became a symbol of wickedness and animosity toward God. in Philistia and Tyre The Philistines were bitter enemies against Israel, especially during the time of Saul and David. Tyre was an important trading center north of Israel on the Mediterranean coast. The trading activities of Tyre involved settling port cities around the Mediterranean, possibly resulting in religious syncretism that influenced Israel.

87:6 when the peoples are enrolled The psalmist portrays Yahweh as recording those coming to Jerusalem in a ledger. This man was born there This line shows the LORD’s focus, and acknowledgement of, those who were originally connected to Jerusalem.

87:7 in their festive dance This could refer to skilled people, perhaps temple personnel, or more generally to the people coming to Jerusalem to worship.

Scripture Reflection

Psalm 87 is a song about Zion and its role in the LORD’s rule of the world. The psalm expresses two basic ideas. The first is the central premise of the songs of Zion: Zion is the city of God. The second is the elaboration that the city of God is the spiritual home for people who live in all the nations.

This vision of the LORD making distant and scattered people citizens of Zion is theologically powerful. Having Zion as religious home becomes thereby a spiritual reality rather than an accident of historical exigencies. Exiles from Judah and the Jews among the dispersion could know that by the grace of God they were “born there.” The psalm can be read as a dramatic portrayal of the Old Testament hope that all nations would be drawn to the kingship of the LORD.

Christians read and sing this psalm it in the light of St. Paul’s teaching to the Philippians: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Many residents of Philippi are honored recipients of Roman citizenship. Paul points out that civil privileges such as those they have received are only a dim reflection of the benefits they possess as Christians. Believers are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, enrolled among the angels and saints in the family of God.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

The Lord Fights for Us

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.
(Zechariah 8:1-8)

Scripture Study

8:1 Lord of hosts The divine title here is used throughout the prophets (e.g., Isa 1:9; Jer 6:6; Mic 4:4; Hab 2:13; Zeph 2:9; Hag 1: 2; Zech 1:3; Mal 1:4). The title asserts the LORD’s role as commander-in-chief of the heavenly armies.

8:2 Zion Another name for Jerusalem, “Zion” symbolized God’s choice of the city as His dwelling. God’s care for Zion is a major theme in Isaiah. Isaiah addresses the question of whether God will preserve the city precisely because it is His special dwelling, or whether He will allow it to be purged and purified through judgment. I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred to jealous wrath the LORD is fiercely protective of His people. All nations who come against Israel will experience the wrath of God (see Gen 12:3).

8:3 I will dwell within Jerusalem A reference to the messianic reign (Psa 2:6), when the LORD Himself will reign over the entire earth from Jerusalem (Joel 3:16–17; Zech 14:9; see note on Zeph 1:4). the holy mountain Jerusalem is situated at the top of a mountain.

8:4 Old men and old women Symbolizes the peaceful state of the city.

8:5 boys and girls Creates a merism with the old men and women of Zech 8:4.

8:6 Even if this should seem impossible Zechariah depicts his audience as skeptical of this kind of transformation. At this time, Jerusalem was largely unpopulated and full of ruins (see Neh 7:4).

8:7 my people Refers to the Israelites, whom the LORD redeemed from Egypt (Exod 3:7, 10; 5:1; 6:7; 7:4, 16; 8:1). I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun and from the land of the setting sun Represents all nations on the earth.

8:8 they will dwell within Jerusalem The gathering of the Jews to the land of Israel is a common theme in the prophets (e.g., Ezek 20:33–44; Amos 9:14–15; Zeph 3:20). They shall be my people Compare Hosea 2:23. with faithfulness and justice This situation will be the opposite of Isa 48:1, which uses the same words.

Scripture Reflection

God will fight on our behalf. This is the message of the Prophet Zechariah. Zechariah also tells God’s people to carry out the tasks of Go by rebuilding his temple. As God’s people renew their relationship with Him, after their time in exile, they must also renew their worship. To do this, they need to continue rebuilding their place of worship, the temple.

At times, we need to rebuild the temple in our hearts. We need to refocus on God and make room for him. God will gather us to himself, to worship him and honor him, and this will transform everything! We simply have to respond to God; to make room for Him in our lives; to worship with our entire being.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Two Sons

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
(Matthew 21:28-32)

Scripture Study

21:28–32 Despite the temple authorities’ evasive answer, Jesus exposes their rejection of John the Baptist with a parable about a man with two sons. The father asks his sons to work in the vineyard, an Old Testament image for Israel that Jesus has already utilized (20:1–16; Isa 5:1–7). The first son refuses his father. In a culture where sons are to honor and obey their fathers (Sir 3:1–16), the son’s initial I will not is a shameful act of defiance. But he later changed his mind and went out into the field. Although the second son agreed to work the field and even honorably addressed his father as “lord” (translated “sir” in the NAB), in the end he disobeyed and did not do the father’s will—reminiscent of Jesus’ teaching in 7:21 about those who call him “Lord” but do not do the Father’s will and do not enter the kingdom.

Obviously, the first son is the one who did his father’s will. Even the chief priests and elders recognize that. But what Jesus says next would have utterly dumbfounded them. Jesus tells them that the tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God before you. Tax collectors and prostitutes were considered to be at the bottom of the socioreligious scale and outside God’s covenant—the kind of people the chief priests and elders looked down on the most. Yet, like the first son, these notorious sinners, who rebelled initially, repented when they heard the exhortation of John the Baptist. That Jesus would say these sinful outsiders will enter God’s kingdom before the chief priests and elders would have been completely astounding—and offensive.

At the same time, Jesus links the chief priests and elders with the second son. They had the law, and by taking office they affirmed that they would do God’s will. But when God sent his prophet John the Baptist calling all to repent, they did not believe him. They will find themselves watching the sinners enter God’s kingdom before them. It is implied that if they fail to repent, they will be left out of the kingdom (8:11–12). 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the parable of the two sons, which Jesus uses as a comment on the Pharisees rejection of John the Baptist: “When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did”.

Various people come to the Baptist and ask what they must do in order to be more pleasing to God. And he gives them very concrete instruction. To tax collectors, he says, “Don’t take more than you should”. To soldiers, he says, “Don’t extort and bully people and don’t expect more in pay than you deserve”. To those who have much, he says, “Share what you have with those who have less”. In other words, he urges the basic works of justice.

Like his religious and philosophical colleagues, the Baptist assumes here that this moral reform in the direction of justice can be undertaken through our own efforts.

But when people suggest that he, the Baptist, might be the Messiah, he emphatically clarifies the matter. The last and greatest of the prophets says, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals”.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Lord Will Guard Us

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd guards his flock.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
(Jeremiah 31:10-13)

Scripture Study

31:10 on distant isles Often used to refer to the farthest reaches of the known world (see Isa 11:11; 41:1; 60:9). who scatterer of Israel now gathers them The scattering was part of the covenant curses (Lev 26:33), but the restoration and gathering also was promised (Deut 30:1–4). Compare Jer 9:16; 10:21; 30:11; Ezek 36:19, 24.

a shepherd guards his flock The metaphor of Yahweh as a shepherd caring for His flock is common in the OT.

31:11 The Lord shall ransom Jacob The image of salvation in the formal sense of a legal ransom or act of redemption is a common feature in Isa 40–48 (e.g., Isa 43:1; 44:22; 48:20). God redeems His chosen people even at the cost of the other nations. This is a metaphorical ransom invoking the idea that redemption required payment.

31:12 life will become like a well-watered garden The imagery of this verse points to the future blessing on the land that results when God’s people are in right relationship with Him (compare Isa 35:10; 58:11). 

Scripture Reflection

The prophetical books speak of God’s tender mercy and John Paul II points out that “it is significant that in their preaching the prophets link mercy, which they often refer to because of the people’s sins, with the incisive image of love on God’s part. The Lord loves Israel with the love of a special choosing, much like the love of a spouse, and for this reason, he pardons its sins and even its infidelities and betrayals. When he finds repentance and true conversion, he brings his people back to grace. In the preaching of the prophets, mercy signifies a special power of love, which prevails over the sin and infidelity of the chosen people.

Connected with the mystery of creation is the mystery of the election, which in a special way shaped the history of the people whose spiritual father is Abraham by virtue of his faith. Nevertheless, through this people which journeys forward through the history both of the Old Covenant and of the New, that mystery of election refers to every man and woman, to the whole great human family: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you’ (Jer 31:3)” (Dives in Misericordia).

– James Gavigan

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Archangels

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”
(Revelation 12:7-12)

Scripture Study

12:7 Michael: The heavenly warrior and archangel (Jude 9) who protects the People of God (Dan 12:1). Here he leads the heavenly army in the attack against Satan and his hoards.

12:9 that ancient serpent: Satan, who took the form of a reptile when he instigated the fall of man in Gen 3:1–13. His name in Greek is the Devil, meaning “slanderer”, and his name in Hebrew is Satan, meaning “adversary”. the deceiver: Satan is the father of every lie and falsehood (Jn 8:44).

12:10 Now the salvation: Heaven celebrates the expulsion of the devil and his angels. This is not the fall of the angels at the dawn of time (12:4), but the defeat of evil at the turning point of salvation history, when Christ mounted the Cross and cast out the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31–32; Col 2:15). the kingdom: See note on Rev 11:15–19. accuser of our brethren: The devil is a prosecuting attorney who makes damning accusations against the saints (Job 1:6–11; Zech 3:1).

12:11 conquered … unto death: The martyrs appear defeated by death but are actually victorious. They, most of all, have shown the greater love (Jn 15:13) that makes them like Christ, even in his death (Phil 3:10).

Scripture Reflection

Once a most exalted creature, he became a devil because when God created man in his own image and likeness, he refused to acknowledge the dignity granted to man. Michael obeyed, but the devil and some other angels rebelled against God because they regarded man as beneath them. As a result the devil and his angelic followers were cast down to earth to be imprisoned in hell, which is why they ceaselessly tempt man, trying to make him sin so as to deprive him of the glory of God.

In the light of this tradition, the book of Revelation emphasizes that Christ, the new Adam, true God and true man, through his glorification merits and receives the worship that is his due—which spells the total rout of the devil. God’s design embraces both creation and redemption. Christ, the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, defeats the devil in a war which extends throughout human history; but the key stage in that war was the incarnation, death and glorification of our Lord.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Perplexed

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
(Luke 9:7-9)

Scripture Study

9:7 Herod the tetrarch: Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea from 4/1 b.c. to a.d. 39. John had been raised: Luke does not recount John’s execution but last mentions him in Herod’s prison (3:20). His martyrdom is narrated in Mt 14:1–12 and Mk 6:14–29.

9:9 he sought to see him: Rumors were circulating that Jesus was a resurrected prophet, either John the Baptist (9:7), Elijah (9:8), or another OT figure (9:8). Herod’s desire to meet Jesus went unfulfilled until his trial (23:8–12). 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel we see Herod interested in and perplexed by Jesus. Political rulers don’t come across well in the New Testament. In Luke’s Christmas account, Caesar Augustus is compared very unfavorably to the Christ child. And that child, in Matthew’s account is hunted down by the desperate Herod. Later, Herod’s son persecutes John the Baptist and Jesus himself. More to it, the Jewish authorities are seen in all of the Gospels as corrupt.

And Pontius Pilate is a typical Roman governor: efficient, concerned for order, brutal. Like the other rulers of the time, he perceives Jesus, quite correctly, as a threat. “So you are a king?” Pilate asks. Jesus says, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.”

This does not mean that Jesus is unconcerned for the realities of politics, with the very “this-worldly” concerns of justice, peace, and right order. When he speaks of his kingdom not belonging to the “world”, he shades the negative side of that term. The”world” is the realm of sin, selfishness, hatred, violence. What he is saying is that his way of ordering things is not typical of the worldly powers like Pilate, Caesar, and Herod.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.