Thursday August 4, 2022

daily reflections

Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica

TODAY’S GOOD NEWS: We are to attack the very gates of hell, knock them down, and carry the victims to Christ.

Good News Reflection for:

Thursday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
August 4, 2022

Today’s Prayer:

Beloved Lord, help me to be docile and to let myself be guided by the Holy Spirit. May Your word bear abundant fruit in me so my thoughts and works will be Your light in the darkness. Amen.

SaintsToday’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
gnm.org/SaintQuotes/

Today’s Readings:

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Ps 51:12-15, 18-19
Matthew 16:13-23
bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080422.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
bible.usccb.org/podcasts/audio/2022-08-04

Breaking down the devil’s gates

[ Listen to the podcast of this reflection ]

In today’s Gospel passage, when Jesus commissioned Peter to become the rock upon which he would build the Church, he promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against it. Well, has he kept his promise? Or does it feel more like the devil’s territory has been prevailing in our world? Or in the decisions of someone you know? Or your personal life or health? Or your parish?

Jesus did not say that hell would not win battles against the Church. He said that the gates of hell would not win. Gates don’t attack! Gates protect whatever has been fenced in by keeping out those who are unwelcome.

Who are the gates of hell protecting by keeping them out of the Church? Everyone we’re called to evangelize.

Christians are called to take the offensive — we are to attack the very gates of hell, knock them down, swarm into the enemy’s territory with the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and carry Satan’s victims to Christ through our prayers, our outreach, and our love. We are supposed to be helping Jesus rescue people from their old world of sin, supporting them as they limp into God’s kingdom, showing them the way, and helping them understand the world of true faith.

That was the mission of Christ, and it is now the mission of his Body on earth, the Church (all of the Church, you included). When the devil’s territory seems to be encroaching — when the powers of darkness seem to be conquering the light — it’s only because we’re doing too little in and through Christ. We are the Body of Christ on earth; we are his hands and feet and voices and arms that embrace others with his love.

Demons take advantage of the vulnerabilities of sinners. They use easily-tempted people as instruments of their strategies against God’s love. We defeat those strategies whenever we find a way to reach the hearts of unbelievers with the love of Christ.

Take an honest look at what the devil is doing in your workplace or family or parish. Think about how you have been wounded by the sins of others. Recall your concerns for those who are living in darkness. In each case, who is the devil using? (Note: I’m not talking about demonic possession but the evil that is accomplished when people do not follow the ways of God.)

Identify the people who are instruments of evil, and you will know where to find the gates of hell. Go knock them down! It takes effort, it takes much prayer, it takes time, and it takes teaming up with others who will fight with you in God’s army (saints and angels as well as God’s friends here on earth).

It also requires persistence, continually giving God’s unconditional love and lots of forgiveness and mercy while taking a firm stand against injustices. It requires sacrifice and a willingness to endure attacks. But oh is it worth it! There is no greater way to live than as a victorious warrior of Christ’s kingdom!

Reflect further on this with our WordByte called: “Our Authority Over Evil” @ https://wordbytes.org/victory/authority-over-evil/.

© 2022 by Terry A. Modica

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