In the first part of today’s Gospel the Seventy-Two who were sent out by Our Lord return exuberant about the power over demons that comes from invoking Jesus’ name and authority. Our Lord tells them various incredible things are within their power, but all in the context of power over the Evil One and the fallen angels, who have often been associated with serpents for their venomous modus operandi. This spiritual power wielded by the Devil and the fallen angels is a power that is often more pervasive and threatening than the material manifestations of power it may produce in those who are dominated by it. Evil simply cannot harm those who remain united to Christ: his power frees us from the Evil One.
At the same time, Our Lord reminds them that the most important reason to be exuberant is not for reasons of power and protection against dark forces, but because those dark forces cannot conquer them as long as they follow Christ and act in his name. The path to Heaven is open to them if they continue to follow Jesus, who will reopen it with his sacrifice on the cross, a sacrifice more powerful than all the evil that was thrown on him during his Passion and Death. On the cross we see how truly powerless evil is, in the end, over God.
Let’s pray today with a spirit of gratitude that line Our Lord taught us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Readings: Baruch 4:5–12, 27–29; Psalm 69:33–37; Luke 10:17–24.