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Do you know what demon means? Pope’s answer and invitation


Pedro juan/Wikipedia | Domena publiczna

Fragment of The Last Judgment, by Fra Angelico

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/01/23

The devil is on a mission in our lives.

Pope Francis called us to be on guard against the devil’s mission in our lives, indicated by the word itself:

The Gospel of this first Sunday of Lent presents to us Jesus in the desert, tempted by the devil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). “Devil” means “divider.” The devil always wants to create division, and it is what he sets out to do by tempting Jesus.

 The history of the word demon most likely traces to the Greek verb daiesthai (“to divide” or “distribute”).

Divide from whom?

Reflecting before the midday Angelus of February 26, the Pope specified what the devil tries to divide:

From whom does the devil want to divide Jesus? After receiving Baptism from John in the Jordan, Jesus was called by the Father “my beloved Son” (Mt 3:17), and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove (cf. v. 16). The Gospel thus presents us the three divine Persons joined in love.

Then Jesus himself will say that he came into the world to make us, too, partake in the unity between him and the Father (cf. Jn 17:11).

The devil, instead, does the opposite: He enters the scene to divide Jesus from the Father and to distract him from his mission of unity for us. He always divides.

Satan is stronger than us: Here’s what to do

The Holy Father invited the faithful to respond to Satan’s temptation in the way that Jesus does: with the Word of God, avoiding discussion.

Jesus defeats the temptations. And how does he defeat them? By avoiding discussion with the devil and answering with the Word of God. This is important: You cannot argue with the devil, you cannot converse with the devil! Jesus confronts him with the Word of God. He quotes three phrases from the Scripture that speak of freedom from goods (cf. Dt 8:3), trust (cf. Dt 6:16), and service to God (cf. Dt 6:13), three phrases that are opposed to temptation.

He never enters into dialogue with the devil, he does not negotiate with him, but he repels his insinuations with the beneficent Words of the Scripture. It is an invitation to us too; one cannot defeat him by negotiating with him, he is stronger than us. We defeat the devil by countering him in faith with the divine Word.

In this way, Jesus teaches us to defend unity with God and among ourselves from the attacks of the divider. The divine Word that is Jesus’ answer to the temptation of the devil.

Pope FrancisSatan
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