by Bill Scholl
Something of a minor miracle happened to me this Easter at Mass.
While holding my toddler and keeping a father’s eye on my 6-year-old, I was actually able to pay attention to what I was praying and think about the meaning of the words. The prayer was the renewal of my baptismal promise.
“Do you reject Satan?”
“I do!” (Man, I hate that guy!)
“And all his works?”
“I do!” (Of course, I’m not sure what he is working on but I want no part of it.)
“And all his empty promises?”
“I do!” (All right, already, I reject him. Why do I have to repeat it three times?)
Then the questions come: Do you believe . . . and I reaffirm all my beliefs in Christ and his church.
However, my mind goes back to this whole Satan thing. Just how do I reject him, his works and his empty promises? I don’t exactly wake up in the morning to find the prince of darkness offering me a cup of coffee, trying to entice me into his nefarious plans.
While there have been times I have felt my moral deliberations clouded by a dark force, for the most part, the devil keeps a low profile.
Lent started with the Scripture passage where Satan tempts Christ with all the kingdoms of the world. In fact, in another passage, Our Lord calls him the prince of this world.
Satan has political power and lots of it! The story of Our Lord’s passion is full of political intrigue, and Satan is behind the scenes pulling the strings.
Surely this prince of the world has not stopped his meddling in human affairs. I can just hear Satan mocking, “Legalized abortion, beheadings by ISIS, starvation amid abundance, human trafficking, consumerism, dehumanizing sexual hedonism; Come on, guys, do you think these just happen without a great deal of dark effort from beyond?”
Thus, to reject Satan means to reject all social orders that go against the kingdom of God. We reject Satan not just by resisting personal temptation, but by working to change the cultural, political structures that promote sin, suffering and injustice. We are called to seek out unjust social orders and work to make them right. This is hard, this is a cross.
Maybe it means you challenge a bigoted statement at a dinner party. Maybe it means you risk getting fired and stand against an unjust policy at work. Maybe it means you sacrifice some free time and get involved in an issue.
The resurrected Christ has empowered us to reclaim the world usurped by Satan. So, fight the prince’s power. After all, you promised.