Third Sunday after Epiphany—26 January A.D. 2020
25 January AD 2020
Conversion of Saint Paul
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Mass Text - Latin
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The Bible is filled
with names that may not be comprehensible to modern Americans. Everyone
has heard of Lucifer and Satan—most of us would translate both names,
simply, as “the Devil,” although there is probably a distinction between
them. Elsewhere the Devil is called “Legion,” apparently because there
are many devil's possessing one victim.
Toward the beginning of today's Gospel we encounter Beelzebub, whom our
Lord refers to as "the prince of devils."
Over the centuries, scholars have sought to define a sort of “hierarchy
of the demons”.
Some are scriptural, but others are rather fanciful. The name Beelzebub
seems to associate with the false God of the Canaanites, named “Baal.”
“Baal zebub,” may have been a corruption of the Canaanite name, intended
by the Jews to mock their Canaanite rivals. Long before Christ, the
Psalmist wrote, in Psalm 95, that “the ‘gods’ of the Gentiles are
This verse is a good one to keep in mind when you read or hear the
Modernists going on about the various sects “all worshipping the same
gods.” All beside the one true God, who try to pass themselves off as
“gods,” are actually devils.
One of the schemes
for classifying devils ranks them according to the order of Angels to
which they used to belong before revolting against God. Former Seraphim
and Cherubim held higher places before the fall, so they are said to
hold higher places in the diabolic hierarchy than those who were Angels
or Principalities before the fall. I believe it was the English author,
C.S.Lewis, who referred to the ranking of devils as a “lowerarchy” in
his book, The Screwtape Letters. Lewis is well worth reading for
his Letters pretend to be a series of instructions to junior
devils on how to tempt humans—they give us available insight to how we
are actually tempted, thereby teaching us how to avoid being tempted.
Another system of
classifying the devils orders them by which of the seven deadly sins
they urge us to commit:.
The association of a
devil’s name with a particular sin is probably imaginary. But the seven
sins, themselves, give us a good idea of what we must personally avoid.
Are we more given to lust or gluttony, than we are to envy and pride?
Each person should carefully examine his conscience, so he can
scrupulously avoid entrapment by his greater weaknesses. In today's
Epistle,. Saint Paul tells us to exclude some of these sins from our
gatherings, so that no one will be tempted by the jocularity of the
Men and women should always be considering their day of particular
judgement, and the serious jeopardy of arriving before the throne of God
while entertaining one of the serious sins!
Humans are creatures
of speech—through speech we for ourselves and we form the people around
us. We should always strive to edify our associates with the purity of
our speech, and we must avoid those who would seduce us with their
“Be followers of God
... and walk in love... But fornication, and all uncleanness, or
covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you ... nor
obscenity, nor foolish talking ... no fornicator, nor unclean, nor
covetous person, which is the serving of idols. Walk, then, as
children of the light: for the fruit of the light is goodness, and
justice, and truth.”