AND DELIVER US FROM EVIL
by Emmanuel N. ILAGAN
Another translation of the verse is “Deliver us from the Evil One”, namely the devil.
The apostle Peter attests to the reality of the devil as he advises the believers who were exiled in various countries: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Pet. 5:8)
The apostle Peter should know. He was called “Satan” by Jesus when he tried to dissuade the Lord from going to Jerusalem to suffer and die and fulfill His mission of rescuing us from sin and eternal death and reconciling us to God. (Mt. 16: 21-23).
Peter had good intentions. He did not want Jesus to die. But he was unwittingly used by Satan in trying to thwart God’s plan of reconciling us to God.
The devil did not stop and was persistent. At the opportune time, Satan entered Judas who then betrayed Jesus to the chief priests in exchange for a sum of money (Luke 22: 3-5). It seems the devil especially concentrates on those who seem to be especially near to God.
From the Garden of Eden up to our contemporary world of satellites and cell phones the devil continues to use lies and craftiness so that we humans will join him in opposing God.
Sometimes his tricks are very subtle, as C.S. Lewis noted in the book The Screwtape Letters: “It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
But let us take heart and rejoice! Jesus has totally defeated Satan and his wiles on the Cross and the Empty Tomb. He gives us the weapons of God’s Word, the Sacraments, the fellowship of believers in the Church and prayer. And as the devil tries to trick us we need not rely on our own strength, for God’s Son Himself fights by our side.
Dear Father, thank you for sending Jesus to defeat evil and fight for us as we face trials and temptations. Amen.