St Paul tells us in the First Reading: Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. We are to stand strong, not on our own power, but in the strength of the power of the Lord. He then tells us Put on the armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Our life is influenced by spirits, good and evil. The good spirits lead us closer to God while the evil spirits lead us further from God. St Paul tells us to stand against the wiles of the devil. The devil will not hesitate to mislead us from what God has planned. While there are times when the devil shows himself these are very rare. The devil tries to mislead us by using people who either willingly or mindlessly cooperate with him.
We see this in the Gospel where some Pharisees came to Jesus and tell him to get away because Herod wants to kill him. Instead of running away, Jesus stood firm and said I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Jesus lets nothing distract him from his mission: to set people free from whatever ails them, be they evil spirits or illness. As for those who reject him, he lets them be. There was no tantrums from Jesus. All he did was to present the truth, that because they reject Jesus, they will not see him until they say Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
We stand firm only in the power of Jesus and this is possible only when we accept Jesus when he comes. The devil will attempt to mislead us. St Paul shows us how to stand strong in the Lord: Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel.
We pray always in the Spirit, allowing the Spirit to pray for us. We remain vigilant, always watching where we are going and we continue to pray for those who responded to God’s call to holiness. Lastly, we pray for those who preach the Gospel. We pray they will speak the mystery of the Gospel boldly.
Lord, do not let me be led astray. Teach me to stand firmly against the deception of the devil. Reveal to me his traps so I may not fall into them. I pray for those who respond to your call to holiness. And I pray especially for those who preach the Gospel. Let them preach it boldly without compromise to lead us to your path.