A Kingdom that cannot be shaken
Put on the armor and resist with all your might the spirit of wickedness on high. Have confidence in the garments God provides to defend the Kingdom. You shall not fail.
"How can we live in a world out of control, which denies God and His Anointed One? St. Paul gives us a detailed set of instructions in today's Epistle. To sit back and do nothing, to remain in our sins, means to become a pawn in the devil's conspiracy, a useful idiot in the plot against Christ and His Church. We must become Christ's soldiers, and put on the armor of God."
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost, he encourages us to heed Paul's words of the epistle taken from Ephesians 6 for that is the only way we can cope against the overwhelming majority who are already in the enemy's camp for the enemy is not man but the powers and principalities of this world - the Prince of the world - the Ruler of darkness. We could easily be disheartened were it not for the warriors who did put on the armor of God and were victorious - the saints. They have proven the Kingdom cannot be shaken. We should be encouraged by this for we have so many saints we can emulate and if we do not embrace the consuming fire of God, then we will be 'toast' - for we'll be engulfed in the neverending flames of hell. By putting on the armor of God we can be assured of victory over the oppressor.
During the month of November we pray for our deceased loved ones, as well as for all the faithful departed. When we are young we think that nothing will change, and that we shall always be here, having our youth and health, and in control of things. But one day our time will come, and we too shall go forth from this life to meet our Maker and Judge.
After we have gained a certain amount of experience we realize that almost everything that happens in this world is controlled by forces outside ourselves. When I was very young on my beautiful island of Cape Breton living in a small village, I thought everyone was Scotch, white, and Catholic. It was like living in Frodo's Shire (in the story of The Lord of the Rings). If we were poor it didn't bother us, because everyone else was poor too. We didn't starve because there was plenty of codfish and herring in the Bras D'Or Lakes nearby, and a few acres where you could plant your potatoes.
But as I grew older and my horizons widened, I began to realize that the world didn't belong just to me or to my kind, but that there were all kinds of people out there trying to make their way in "this vale of tears" as the prayer calls it. There was a terrible force out there, more terrible than the forces of Mordor. This is because, as St. Paul tells us, our battle is "not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high" (Eph.6:12). Now that sounds pretty ominous. If you are a citizen of this world only, the battle is already lost before it begins. This world is the real Mordor, under the power of one far worse than the Dark Lord, Sauron. Jesus Himself said that the devil was "the Prince of this world" (Jn.16:11).
The Prince of this world does not work alone. Besides his demonic companions, he has conscripted most of the powerful men and women of this world, secular and even religious. Control the leaders and you control the masses who follow them. Where can we find a ruler or a statesman who is faithful to the Gospel and who honors Christ as King? Talk about wickedness in high places! With few exceptions they all conduct their government activities not according to what God has ordained in His Commandments, but according to what is politically expedient. They justify their wars and their conquests by lies.
The nations today are described prophetically in the second Psalm: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples utter folly? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the Lord and against his anointed (Christ): 'Let us break their fetters and cast their bonds from us!' He who is throned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them. Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: 'I myself have set up my king on Sion, my holy mountain'… And now, O kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before him; with trembling pay homage to him, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, when his anger blazes suddenly" (Ps.2:1-6;10-12).
How can we live in a world out of control, which denies God and His Anointed One? St. Paul gives us a detailed set of instructions in today's Epistle. To sit back and do nothing, to remain in our sins, means to become a pawn in the devil's conspiracy, a useful idiot in the plot against Christ and His Church. We must become Christ's soldiers, and put on the armor of God:
"For the rest, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of justice, and having your feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace, in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may 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" (Eph.6:10-17).
Thus armed, we become part of the valiant company of the saints. We have the companionship of Mary and Joseph, who faced hardship, sorrow and persecution, as they strove to protect and nurture the Child Jesus, helping Him prepare for His mission as Savior of the world. Then we have Sts. Peter and Paul and the other Apostles like our own St. Jude, who spread the word of Christ to the nations at the price of their own blood. We have the holy martyrs - Stephen, Ignatius, Lawrence, Agnes, Lucy, Philomena - who in Heaven now follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
Whoever you are there is a saint for you: St. Dominic Savio and St. Maria Goretti for the children, St. Monica for the wives and mothers, St. Thomas More for the husbands and fathers, St. Joan of Arc and St. John the Baptist for the unmarried, St. Teresa for the religious, St. John Vianney for the priests, and many more. St. John records for us in the Apocalypse:
"After this I saw a great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb'" (Apoc.7:9,10).
Already on earth we are members of that great company of the Communion of Saints:
"But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the Church of the firstborn who are enrolled in the heavens, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus, mediator of a new covenant and to a sprinkling of blood which speaks better than Abel. See that you do not refuse Him Who speaks (Jesus). For if they did not escape who rejected Him Who spoke upon earth, much more shall we not escape who turn away from Him Who speaks to us from Heaven… Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we have grace, through which we may offer pleasing service to God with fear and reverence. For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb.12:22-25;28,29).
Father Louis J. Campbell
vol 14, no. 39
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons