30th Week, Thursday, Oct 29

 Ephesians 6:1-20 / Luke 13:31-35

 Paul asks for prayers: Pray that I may proclaim the Gospel well.


Adelaide Proctor’s poem “A Legend” tells about a monk whose preaching attracted crowds far and near. It moved people to tears and changed their lives. Every time he preached, an old man sat nearby praying his beads. One day the monk was thanking God for his power to move hearts when, suddenly, an angel appeared to him and said something to this effect: “My dear son, it is not your words that melts people’s hearts and renews their faith. It is the prayers of that faith-filled old man who sits nearby and tells his beads.”

That poem recalls Paul’s words in today’s reading: “Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.”


Do we pray for priests and ministers that their words will touch hearts? “More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of.” Alfred Lord Tennyson


We are promised a lifelong struggle. Not against human beings but against Sovereignties and Powers, who originate the darkness of this world, the spiritual army of evil (Verse 12). What this means we do not know. It is the idea of that age, the spirit of that age. The spirit of the age is powerful - think only of fashions and hairstyles - it has a firm hold on everyone, especially the young, and much of it is evil. Every age has its own form of enslaving man. As Paul speaks about the daily struggle, he realises that he is chained to a soldier; half-jokingly he called himself an ambassador in chains. But as he looked at the Praetorian guard's man, he made use of his uniform and his weapons as an illustration for his lesson. Jesus did the same: looking prayerfully at his surroundings he found material for his parables. St Ignatius called this: Finding God in all things.


St. Teresa of Avila was quoted as saying this: I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him. What St. Teresa is probably saying is that as much as Satan instigates and tempts others to sin, his instruments and operatives can carry out his mission so ruthlessly that they can almost give hell to us. And we in turn can succumb to the evil one's tactics by confronting the ones who do evil to us and we fight fire with fire with the result that all get consumed by the flames, with the evil one laughing from afar. That is why the 1st reading tells us to put on God's armour so as to resist the devil's tactics.

And that means to realise that it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle with, but against the powers of darkness, the spiritual army of evil. That is why we must rely on God's armour, or we will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold our ground.

So against these human instruments and operatives of the evil one, we have to pray all the time and asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance and help to see how the evil one is manipulating those to do evil and to cause us to sin. In the gospel, when some Pharisees seem to warn Jesus that Herod has the intention to kill him, He knows who was instigating Herod to this evil intention. Jesus was able to see the tactics of the devil behind Herod's intention.

May we pray always and ask the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and guard us from the evil one and not to fall into the trap of his evil tactics. Let us also pray for those under the power of the evil one that they will be freed from his power and turn away from evil and begin to do good.


Let us Pray: Lord God, to have an aim, a purpose, a sure destiny to go to, even at the cost of sacrifice and pain, is very reassuring in all its uncertainty. Keep us going on our way in faith and trust, without fear or hesitation, for we are sure that nothing can harm us and that no prison made by human hands or minds can deprive us from the inner freedom which you have given us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.