God has an urgent message for you and for me through St. Paul in today's Epistle. You must put on the armor of God - shield, sword and all - "that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect" (Ephesians 6:10-17). This is the evil day, for the enemy is at the gate, and even within the camp. In fact, St. Paul says, our chief enemies are not those of flesh and blood, but spiritual entities in high places - angels who have fallen from grace with Lucifer, and who now control the earth and most of fallen humanity. We must, at all costs, save ourselves from the horrors of Hell to which the demons have been assigned for all eternity, and from which there will be no escape for their unfortunate victims.
The fallen angels have been so influential one would think aliens had invaded the planet. And indeed they have, if we are to take the book of the Apocalypse seriously. What passes for the Catholic Church, once the chief bastion against Satan's realm, tottering and about to collapse, (though the true Church will never be destroyed), is mostly controlled by aliens who have infiltrated her structures. It trumpets now an uncertain sound, so, as St. Paul says, "who will prepare for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). Instead, the lambs of the flock languish in confusion and become victims of the agents of Satan, children of Hell who abound in this world. Perhaps they are the locusts of the Apocalypse that are unleashed at the sound of the fifth trumpet:
"And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw that a star (Lucifer) had fallen from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit… and out of the smoke there came forth locusts upon the earth… And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of many horse-chariots running to battle. And they had tails like those of scorpions and there were stings in their tails; and they had power to harm mankind for five months. And they had over them a king, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek Apollyon; in Latin he has the name Exterminans (the Exterminator)" (Apocalypse 9:1;3;10,11).
Physical injury and pain are nothing compared to the spiritual damage the sting of these scorpion-locusts can inflict. Teenage girls now think they should dress like Britney Spears and indulge in incantations and spells like Harry Potter. It's bad enough that adult men, perhaps trained on obscene and suggestive rock videos, have graduated to internet pornography, but far more tragic that boys in their teens and younger have fallen into the same cesspool of sin. The Hollywood and television crowd now dress with no regard for modesty, and too many women imitate them in their immodest displays. Why do we let these aliens, who are on their way to Hell, tell us how to live? Soldiers of Christ must stand for chaste living, and modesty in dress.
In the meantime our leaders are powerless to stop the moral landslide that is being enabled by the passage of laws that will change us into the most perverted and sinful civilization since Sodom and Gomorrah. Few of them have the moral conviction that comes with faith in Christ. How can they be otherwise, when "moderate" means being somewhere in the gray area between good and evil? Preaching the Gospel will become a hate crime.
"I know thy works," says Our Lord, "thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot. But because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of My mouth; because thou sayest, 'I am rich and have grown wealthy and have need of nothing,' and dost not know that thou art the wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked one" (Apocalypse 3:15-17).
Three little demons were being interviewed by the devil before going out on their first assignment. "What will you tell your victims?" the devil said. One little demon said timidly: "I will tell them there is no God." "Nonsense!" said the devil, "for all created things give evidence of the existence of God." "I will tell them there is no sin," offered the next little demon. "Well, yes, that's better," said the devil, "but most people know in their hearts that they are sinners." "And what will YOU tell those innocent lambs?" said the devil to the last little demon. "I will tell them there is no hurry," he replied. "Excellent!" laughed the devil, "they will believe that."
Don't you believe it! You must prepare for battle and put on the armor of God today, for by tomorrow the enemy may have won a decisive victory, and you may find yourself chained up in Hell for all eternity. "Let your loins be girded with truth," says St. Paul. To know Jesus Christ is to know the truth. He fills us with the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Ghost. Those who do not know Christ are awash in a sea of error and sin. You don't have to have a PhD, but you must know Him, love Him, and obey Him, Who is "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).
"Put on the breastplate of justice," St. Paul continues. Justice here means Sanctifying Grace, which is ours if we truly repent and confess our sins, making an effort not to sin again, like a worthy soldier of Jesus Christ. Justice towards our neighbor is taken for granted, as is mercy. Our Lord said in His Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7). In today's Gospel he spells it out in the parable of the unmerciful servant, who ended up being tortured in prison, because he would not forgive his fellow-servants. The last line tells it all: "So also My heavenly Father will do to you, if you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts" (Matthew 18:35).
Next, put on "the readiness of the gospel of peace": The nations briefly acknowledge the value of peace each year as the Nobel Peace Prize is presented. Then they get back to the business at hand - looking for ways to attack other nations while putting the blame on them. "Blessed are the peacemakers," says Our Lord, "for they shall be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).
Finally, St. Paul tells us to take up "the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is, the word of God."
No alien horde, no spiritual force of wickedness, can defeat those armed for battle with the grace of Christ and the spiritual weapons He provides. Led by the Blessed Virgin Mary, "powerful as an army arrayed for battle" (Canticles 6:10), and St. Michael the Archangel with his lightning-swift sword, the victory is already ours.