Resist The Devil

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Adulterers!
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says,
The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy?
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

So submit yourselves to God.
Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep.
Let your laughter be turned into mourning
and your joy into dejection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord
and he will exalt you.-James 4:1-10

The letter of James is a book that is challenging.  It is a book that calls us to action, and the passage today is no exception.  St. James is blunt and to the point.  He is basically saying that we have conflict because we want what someone else has.  We want it so bad that it starts to take over our mind.  We think about it so much that we become resentful and start to justify doing wrong to the person.  Think about that.  You may have done that.  I know I have.  He then talks about humility and resisting temptation.  The reason that this is here is no accident.  Humility and resisting temptation will help us avoid covetousness.  This will help build stronger relationships and community among believers.

Satan knows what we like and he knows what makes us tick.  He will do everything in his power to make you stumble.  He will make you feel that someone doesn’t deserve what they have to the point that you wish harm on the person.  He will make you want to look at that porn site one more time because you aren’t hurting anyone.  He will make you do any number of things and will help you justify them.  He is called the father of lies for a reason.  Resist the bitterness, envy, and strife.  Be humble and resist the snares of the devil.  Remember to rest in Christ and be humble and he will lift you up.

 

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Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.
–St. Augustine

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Feed My Lambs

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. 
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”-John 21:15-19

There is a lot that are going on in today’s Gospel reading.  It may helpful to oneself in the place of St. Peter to fully understand.  You may recall that when Jesus was on trial, and according to Matthew’s Gospel Peter denied him three times.  In today’s passage Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him.  The significance of this was not lost on Peter as John describes Peter as being in distress about this.  Peter would go on to be the head of the church on earth, and the first Pope in the Church.  This was a moment of restoration and forgiveness.  Christ goes on to tell Peter that he would suffer martyrdom.

What does this mean for us?  In Matthew 16:18 Christ calls Peter the rock and says that church will be built on him.  Just a few verses later Jesus tells Peter that he is acting contrary to the will of God.  He even denied Jesus!  How many of us have acted contrary to the will of God?  How many of us even denied him?  The bottom line in the life of Peter is about a man who was restored even though he fell from grace.  God’s mercy is greater than anything we have ever done.  Peter went on to lead the early church and feed the sheep.  We may not be priests or bishops, but we all have a gift that help to feed the flock.  Are we using it?

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“We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable.”
-St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Blessed Be the Lord Who Saves

Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death. -Psalm 68:20-21

Today’s Bible reflection is taken from the second part of the responsorial Psalm.  Though it is short there is much contained within its words.  We are reminded that is God who saves, and it is He who controls our eternal destiny.  He has done much good for all of us, he gave us life, and we are to respect and be in awe of him.  In short, blessed be the Lord.

We have a tendency as humans to want to do things on our own.  This is fine and dandy if it is something like riding a bike, but not something we should be doing in terms of our salvation.  The fact of the matter is that we can’t get to heaven on our own.  God is our salvation as the Psalmist says.  Are you trying to do it alone?  Christ established the church to guide us on the road we should go and teach us the truths about God.  It is God who saves and we do not save ourselves.

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Quote

“Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.”
-St. Augustine of Hippo

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