Satan’s Schemes

Matthew 13: 36-43
Jer 14:17-22 / Psa 79

…the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
(Matthew 13:43)

Live as if you’ll die tomorrow,
From the Grim Reaper, no one’s spared;
Life is but a time we borrow,
For its accounting be prepared.

Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:36-43)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us that the work of evangelization entails not only sowing God’s Word to many kinds of people, but also in dealing with the opposition. The parable is clear enough for us. At a time we least expect, the enemy will sow ill will and intrigues in our community. The enmities fester, and some of our members want to take drastic action. But as prudence dictates, it is better to wait and try to clarify issues because we don’t want to offend anyone and destroy good relationships. In time, opposing parties realize their mistakes, patch up differences, and conclude that the issues involved are petty and are outweighed by love and understanding. Everyone involved is enriched by the experience, and the bonds of brotherhood become stronger in the community.

There are many other things that we can learn from this parable. The first is clearly, Satan is a scheming, indefatigable worker. St. Paul warns us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). St. Peter likewise warned in his letter: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In our efforts to serve the Lord and win souls for His kingdom, we can’t expect the devil to sit around and do nothing. He is definitely going to try and derail our good intentions.

The biggest scheme of Satan is to make people believe that he doesn’t exist. But believe it, devils are real. We have read many instances in the Bible where our Lord encountered them, and they tried to prevent Him from accomplishing His mission. They will try to hamper our ministry for the Lord by exploiting our weak points. They will try to discourage and demoralize us to counter the urgings and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They will try to convince us that God could never love sinners like us. Their mission is to destroy our loving relationships with others, and our fellowship with Jesus.

Satan is a master counterfeiter. The Bible tells us that he loves to masquerade as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). In other words he loves to pretend to be something that he is not. And he loves to plant things in our lives which appear to be the real thing to lead us astray. The Bible warns us to beware of false messiahs (Mt.24:4-5), false prophets (2Peter 2:1), false doctrines (Heb. 13:9), and even false miracles (2 Thess. 2:7-12). Just look at all the false religions sprouting all around us. If we are going to stand firm in a world of false teachings we need to be well grounded in the truth. We have to make reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word a daily habit. We have to stick together and support one another in our community. We have to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist regularly. We have to be in constant communication with God in prayer.

Help us, dear God, to accomplish all that is required of us as Your laborers, and so make us realize that we have nothing to fear. As our Lord Jesus tells us, we must not only be as wise as serpents, we must also be as gentle as doves (Mt. 10:16). Amen.

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