Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
24 January 2021
“The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.” Mk. 1:15
Today, we in the First Reading from the Book of Jonah (1-5, 10) Jonah was sent to the Minevites to tell them to repent or else God would punish them: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” Jonah 3:5 The pagan Minevites repent and God was pleased. Jesus in today’s gospel (Mark 1:14-20) tells the people: “The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.” Mk.1:15 By repentance, it means that we need to give up a life of sin and turn back to God by obeying the Commandments and doing good. This is not always so easy as the fallen angels tempt us to do evil.
Four Phases of Angels in Time
Some may wonder why the fallen angels under Lucifer, the Devil, want to seduce man into sinning. They know that they can’t hurt God, so they back at God by causing man to commit mortal sin and lose eternal life in heaven. They lost their place in heaven when they would not do God’s will. Because of their superior intellectual nature, they knew right from wrong intuitively We human beings have to use our reason! Angels know the nature of good and evil so when they fell through pride, they were banished from heaven immediately. Theologians tell us that Lucifer and the other angels with him (about 1/3 of all the angels) never saw God in the beatific vision. If they had, they could not sin as God is so beautiful. Their test, according to theologians, concerned the command of God to adore His Son who would be a man (and God too) and Our Lady who would be the Queen of Angels. They would not serve man who, to them, was a lower being. St. Michael and the good angels banished the fallen angels from heaven. The Book of Revelation put the activities of the fallen angels in four phases: First, there was the war and battle in heaven; Second, there is the conflict on earth where the devil, as the “prince of this world” has been given power in this world to tempt man. Soon the devil extended his sway over man through paganism with its idolatry, cruelty and lusts. When Jesus came into this world, He destroyed the power of the devil: “Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Jn. 12:31 The third phase is when the devil and the other fallen angels have been permitted the devil to wage war against the Church until the end of time. In the fourth phase, the devil and the fallen angels will be sent to hell for all eternity: “And there came down fire from God out of heaven, and devoured them; and the devil, who seduced them, was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast And the false prophet shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Rev. 20:9-10 According to many, we are now in the end times where the devil’s activity will be greater as he knows that his time is short. We can see how the devil will become more furious in the latter stages of third phase as he knows that his defeat is near.
The Devil and Slaves of Sin
By committing sin, we do what the devil wants. Jesus said: “Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.” Jn 8:34 The great Bishop and martyr, St. John Fisher of England, said, in commenting on Psalm 38: “The holy Fathers think all sinners to be under the power of an evil spirit.” We know that those in mortal sin lose sanctifying grace and God’s divine life in the soul. Sometimes, with great sinners, God can allow the devil to take possession of a soul. God allows this so that we can see the evil of sin and devil’s power over sinners.
God Permits Souls to be Tempted
You might say then, why does God permit souls to be tempted. God allows evil to show us how evil sin is. The devil can only harm us if we sin. In a way, he is then like a chained dog who can’t hurt unless we get too close to him. God allows us to be tempted to humble us and make us pray more, Also, we are tempted to prove our love God and gain more merit when we overcome temptations. While God does allow the fallen angels to tempt us, He also gives a guardian angel and patron saints who protect us and pray for us. We should know also that the God will never permit the devil to tempt us beyond our strength to resist him. We will always have sufficient grace from God overcome our temptations. However, the devil can trick us because, as Jesus said: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof." Jn. 8:44 Finally, the devil uses human beings and human institutions as his agents to get souls to commit sin. To the ambitious, he will make them successful, to the greedy, he will get them riches, and to the proud, he will make them powerful. There is no way, without prayer and God’s help, that we can overcome the devil as he is smarter that any man as he is an angelic spirit. He may even be smarter than all humans put together!
What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves.
As the devil is so much more powerful and intelligent than man, we need to make sure that we do not commit mortal sin and let him into our soul with the loss of sanctifying grace.If we are in mortal sin, then we need to make sure that we go to confession as soon as possible to receive absolution from priest..What will happen to a soul in mortal if he dies?We know that souls in mortal sin who do not make a perfect act of contrition (sorrow for sin out of love for God) or a good confession will go to hell for all eternity.We should also know that sin is a slippery slope; if we commit one sin then we open our souls to other sins and soon we are slaves of sin with many sins on our soul!We can’t take a chance on losing heaven for any reason:“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” M