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THE LIBERATING WORK OF CHRIST
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 26th Week of the Year, October 05, 2013
Bar. 4:5-12, 27-29, Ps. 68, Luke 10:17-24


"The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'" (Luke 10:17-18).


In the ministry of Jesus the kingdom of God arrived on earth (Matt. 12:28; Mark 1:15), and its power vanquished the kingdom of Satan. "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18). "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Jesus is the stronger man who conquers the strong man Satan. "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil" (Luke 11:21-22). Christ is this stronger man who vanquishes the strong man who is Satan. This victory over Satan began in Jesus' earthly ministry and is seen in his exorcisms and in those of his disciples (Matt. 12:28). So when they say, "Even the demons are subject to us in your name," he says, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:17-18). Indeed, "now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). This hour has now come, and the power of Satan is broken by the Son of God.


Now, then, is the time of the kingdom of God on earth. Hence Jesus says, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it" (Luke 10:23-24). We now live in the time of the kingdom of God on earth, a time of peace and blessing in Jesus the Son of God, a time that many prophets and kings desired to see, and did not see it (Luke 10:24). Now is the time of fulfillment and salvation. And this salvation is in Jesus Christ through our faith in him.


We now have the "authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you" (Luke 10:19). These serpents and scorpions are all the evils that can attack and depress us. They are the worries and anxiety that rob us of our peace. They are our mistakes and sins that fill us with guilt and shame. But Jesus Christ gives us the power to tread upon these serpents and scorpions so that they will not hurt us. But most of all we are to rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). That is, our greatest reason for rejoicing is the salvation that we have in Christ.


This power, already manifested in Jesus' earthly ministry, is completed in his death and resurrection, in his Paschal Mystery, by which he saved us from death by himself dying in our place, bearing our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21), suffering and dying in just punishment for them. His death propitiates the wrath of God against all sin (Rom. 1:18; 5:9; 3:25; 1 John 2:2) by paying the price to ransom us from sin and death (Mark 10:45). He served our death sentence for us, in our place, thus satisfying God's justice on our behalf, himself making just reparation for our sins.


Through faith in Christ we are liberated from the depression of guilt for having sinned, and our sins are justly forgiven through his death on the cross. And we can rejoice in his salvation, in that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).


This is something hidden from the wise and understanding of this world, but revealed to babes (Luke 10:21), that is, to those who believe in Christ and in the saving message of the New Testament. It is revealed only to those who have the humility and simplicity to believe what God has revealed in his word.

 

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