Homily – Cardinal John Dew – Sunday 5th March 2017

Homily Sunday 5th March 2017

“Do you renounce Satan? And all his works, and all his empty promises?’

Those words are asked at every Baptism. They are asked of everyone, not just the person being baptized or his or her parents.

“Do you renounce Satan? And all his works, and all his empty promises?’

Those words are also asked every Easter when we renew our Baptism promises…they are asked of everyone.

Those words are asked at every Confirmation ceremony, they are asked of everyone, not just those being confirmed.

We need to be reminded to renounce evil and bad things.

We don’t talk much about the Devil, Satan, the Tempter, Lucifer; but we do need to face reality and admit that the devil is real. I am not talking about some figure with horns and a pitchfork – but an eveil spirit.

Jesus faced the devil in the desert, and had to make a choice , Jesus had to choose His path… If Jesus faced evil it is clear that we too have to face evil and make good choices.

It is a fact that we are tempted or lured by a power beyond ourselves that tries to lead as away from God, away from Jesus and His Gospel.

In the first homily he delivered as Bishop of Rome Pope Francis spoke of the devil, he has continued to do so and regularly reminds us that we need to be on guard.

In that first homily he said, “ The devil is real and doesn’t want our holiness.” Then he went on to say:  “It is enough to open a newspaper and see that around us there is a presence of evil, the devil is at work. And then I would say in a loud voice “God is stronger,” do you believe that, “God is stronger?”

There is a presence of evil in our world, in our lives who tries to lure us away from God. In another homily later in the same year the Pope said “Please let us not do business with the devil – be always with Jesus, be always with Jesus.”

This Lent is the time for us to choose, to choose to be always with Jesus, to choose our own path, and to know that our path makes no sense without Jesus…so we to Tell his Truth, to Live his Life and to Walk his Way.

Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit of God, where he fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights…… the tempter, the Devil came to him. We can be sure that if he tried Jesus out then he will also try us out too. He tempted Jesus to live a quick and easy lifestyle, tried to get Jesus to turn away from who he really was.

It happens to us all the time…something says to us:

“this will be the easy way…it doesn’t matter if I don’t help someone else today”

 “it wont really matter if I tell this lie and someone else gets blamed”

 “will it really hurt if I spread some gossip about someone else when I know it’s not true.”

 The quick and easy way is not the path to choose, because it empty and meaningless.

This happened to Jesus in the desert just after he was baptized. When he was baptized he found his real identity, his true self….He and everyone else heard the words “This is my Son, the Beloved.”

The same is said to us at our Baptism; “This is my daughter, my son the Beloved”……but the spirit of evil tries to get us to forget that and to choose another – a quick and easy path.

Lent is a time to remember who we are – the Beloved daughters and sons of God….and to be grateful for God’s choice of us.

Lent is a time – with the Spirit’s help to choose our path.

To go back to Pope Francis, in another homily in 2013 he said:
The presence of evil is on the first page of the Bible (tonight’s first reading) and the Bible ends well with the presence of the devil – with the victory of God over the devil.”

 In prayer this Lent choose your path and you and God will be the winners.