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14th Sunday

How do you defeat the devil? By flashing the crucifix on its face? By sprinkling holy water all over the place? If you are fans of horror movies, these would be the scenes that signal the end of the enemy.

But today’s gospel describes Jesus rejoicing that he “observed that Satan fall like lightning from the sky”. It was not some incantation or an act of exorcism that brought this misfortune on the devil. Rather, Jesus was describing the real cause of victory – the faithfulness of his disciples to the mission they received from God.

Jesus first chose the Twelve apostles to be with him and to be sent by him after they received their training and formation. But he further extended his call to 72 others whom he sent to proclaim the Kingdom and to perform wonders in his name. He expanded the mission to other men and women who were willing to follow him and dedicate themselves to him.

The 72 gave their best to the task bestowed on them. Reporting back to the Lord after their mission, the Lord noticed the encouraging fruits of their work. Because they were faithful, the enemy’s defeat was already starting.

This brings us to an important realization. When we are unfaithful to the Lord, we allow the devil to succeed. But when we are faithful to the Lord, it is God’s triumph that we celebrate in our world and in our own lives.

Often we associate the mission of the apostles and the disciples to the special and specific calling of our church leaders, bishops, priests, religious and missionaries. But they are not the exclusive recipients of the mission from God. All Christians have a mission from Jesus and all must embrace their mission in order to transform hearts and change the world.

Parents of children have a mission to promote healthy, happy and holy families. Children too have a mission, to respect and love their parents. Every student has a mission to study well. Friends have a mission to remind each other to live uprightly, to renounce the path that destroys life. Parishioners have a mission to partake of the responsibilities in the faith-community. From the president of the nation to the humblest citizen, we have a mission to fulfill.

And we all know that to ignore our mission is to cause evil to triumph and chaos to prevail. If however, we remain faithful to our mission, we continue the victory of the disciples of Jesus whose presence in the world already signaled the coming of the Kingdom.

Let us review our missions in life and see whether we have been faithful. Let us ask for the grace to live as Jesus expects us to. Let us join Jesus in the task of defeating evil and making God triumph over all.