Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Third Sunday of Lent—8 March AD 2015

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Mass Text]
[Latin Mass Text]
[Lenten Observance]

“He who is not with Me is against Me..
He who does not gather with Me, scatters”[1]

    The greatest achievement of the devil is that he has convinced so many that he does not exist!  He is very happy to be thought of as a cute little red guy with catlike ears, pointy tail, and matching pitchfork.  Of course he does exist, but deception is second nature to him, for he is the “Father of Lies.”[2] To be sure, there are scientific explanations for some of the things that used to be mistaken as diabolical possession.—The Church always looks for physical or psychological remedy for a person's strange behavior before even beginning to think about exorcizing the devil.—But there is real diabolical activity in the world.

    The devil's primary method of leading souls astray is also by way of deception.  He may promise the riches and pleasures of the world, but he has none to give.  He knows that if you strive after them you may acquire them on your own, but even if you don't he will have drawn you away from God by placing unlawful desires in your mind, followed by the consent of your will.

    Our Lord's words today were directed to the Pharisees, who should have recognized Him as the promised Messias, and who should have cooperated with Him in bringing the common people to believe.  But they were against Him, rather than with Him.  They viewed Him as a threat to the honors they expected from the people, and because they feared the Roman reaction to Him if He were to become too influential.[3]  They didn’t like the Romans at all, but at least the Romans left them in charge—by way of deception, they made themselves the friends of the Romans by betraying the Son of God.

    Our Lord’s words are also directed to the heretics and schismatics, which He knew would come along to deceive the more innocent among His Church.  Almost universally, they would represent themselves as the true Church and the true keepers of our Lord’s teachings.  By way of deception, they would acquire the titles and trappings of the true Church in order to teach lies—lies for their own profit, and lies to send the faithful to hell.  And, not incidentally, the devil was pleased to assist them, for he would claim their own miserable souls as well.

    The modern situation is the masterwork of the devil, for modern man denies that there is such a thing as objective truth.  He has deceived himself into thinking that reality can be bent and twisted in accordance with his own desires and for his convenience.  By way of deception, nothing now is real, and everything yields to “dialogue” and to the dialectic.  Saint Paul’s words to the Ephesians today are meaningless to them:  “Walk, then, as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.”[4]  “Goodness, justice, and truth” have no meaning without objective reality.

    It is as though we can hear the devil whispering in the darkness:  “For you were heretofore light; but now you are darkness in the devil.”[5]

    Finally, our Lord is addressing all of us—not just the Pharisees, the heretics, the schismatics, the modernists, and the Marxists—but all of us.  All human beings, by virtue of original sin, are tempted to think that it is possible to find a middle ground between following Christ and following the world.  And, by way of deception, the devil is as pleased as can be, to urge us to find that supposed middle ground.  There is no such middle ground, and there never can be, for trying to find an accommodation between Christ and the world is like trying to find a non-existent “third‑way”  between good and evil.  That “third‑way” is the way of negation; the way of deception

    The devil is real, and we must be on our guard.  If we but pause and listen, we will hear our Lord say directly to us:

“He who is not with Me is against Me.
He who does not gather with Me, scatters.”


[1]   Gospel:  Luke xi: 14-28   I am indebted to Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's The Church's Year for his ideas on the devil’s deception

[5]   Cf ibid. verse 8, reversed in sense.


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