Today’s first reading is very timely. We have seen a lot of decorations and other preparations for Halloween – sometimes they can be quite frightening! We know as Catholics that All Hallows Eve is the beginning of the celebration of All Saints Day. The pagan influences in our society bring out darker and scarier images and stories, but this is important for us to think about too as people of faith. Today, people are tempted to believe only in what they can see, touch, smell, taste, or feel. People are tempted to think that God doesn’t exist because they can’t see Him or feel Him. On the other hand, we, as Christians, might forget that there are also evil beings out there: evil spirits, demons, etc. We forget that they exist because they are invisible. If we don’t protect ourselves from them though, they can take advantage of us and lead us to sin. The way our society celebrates Halloween reminds us that there really is evil out there, and that not only does it make us afraid, but it is also dangerous.
Today’s first reading encourages us that we don’t have to be afraid of invisible but very real evil because God is infinitely more powerful. We take with us the Words He speaks to us from the bible as protection, and we trust in His strength because we know that he will defend us. We also pray the St. Michael prayer all the time to invoke the protection of the Archangel who shields us against attacks with the Truth about God’s greatness, mercy, and love.
The enemy does not make war on us straightforwardly or openly but by his wiles. What are the devil’s wiles? They consist in trying to capture us by some shortcut and always by deceit.… The devil never openly lays temptation before us. He does not mention idolatry out loud. But by his stratagems he presents idolatrous choices to us, by persuasive words and by employing clever euphemisms.1
In ordinary battles the generals do not arm women or children or the aged. But our general, Christ the Lord, distributes this royal armory to all alike. He then teaches them the stratagems of the devil. This is what he means by the devil’s wiles.2
Paul calls them world rulers not because they have received authority to rule from God but because they have made captive loose-living people as their willing slaves. The holy apostle has imitated the best sort of general. Wishing to drive out the unfit from his army, the astute general describes to them the exceptional courage of the enemy.3
The “evil day” may arguably signify the present time.… But the better interpretation is that “to stand in the evil day” is a reference to the final consummation and judgment. Then the devil, our enemy and our adversary, will struggle to keep us in his clutches. Who will be freed from him? One who understands what is said of the poor and needy: “the Lord will deliver him in the evil day.” … Still another interpretation, however, expounds this more simply: The Ephesians are now being encouraged to prepare for future temptations and persecutions. Paul the apostle in his prophetic spirit saw them as coming at a later time. They are being counseled to do anything they can that might enable them to stand in the faith of the gospel and not to lapse under persecution.4
- HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 22.6.11. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (pp. 207–208). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 6.11. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 208). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 6.12. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (pp. 208–209). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 3.6.13. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 209). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.