Monday, May 15, 2017

"He Has No Power Over Me" By Melanie Rigney

(Paul and Barnabas) strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted the to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (Psalm 145:12)

(Jesus told the disciples:) “I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14:30-31)

Lord, may I recognize the hardships of this earth as opportunities to praise Your name.

In The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch brushes off a threat from the Wicked Witch of the West with a laugh and “Oh rubbish! You have no power here. Now be gone, before somebody drops a house on you too!”

In Doctor Zhivago, the chained anarchist headed for a “voluntary” labor camp sneers at his keeper and the others headed east in a crowded cattle car and declares: “I am the only free man on this train!”

And in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus’s reference at the Last Supper to the evil one is almost an aside—“He has no power over me”—before he focuses again on love and obedience to the Father.

It’s a laudable concept, this refusal to accept the authority that evil wants to have over us, to treat it as the distraction from God that it truly is, to persevere, as Paul and Barnabas urged the disciples to do. But, as with so many things in earthly life, it’s easier said than done. Evil likes that, of course. Evil likes emotions such as regret and disappointment and anger and sorrow. Evil likes it when we play those sad old tapes in our heads, over and over again, or use our time to worry about the future and what it may bring.

So what to do? As Christians, we live in the moment, in the world but not of it. We keep our eyes and our hearts and our souls focused on the ultimate freedom that is God.

In his challenging, beautiful book Interior Freedom, Father Jacques Philippe puts it this way:

That others are sinners cannot prevent us from becoming saints. Nobody really deprives us of anything. At the end of our lives, when we come face to face with God, it would be childish to blame others for our lack of spiritual progress.

May we use our time to prepare for that meeting rather than conjure up the excuses we will use when it comes.

Pray for the faith and strength not to rise to the evil one’s bait today, remembering that it is the Lord who has power over you.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

No comments: