THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND NOT OF SATAN. by:Br. Joseph Msafiri OFM Cap.
Once again, the Season of Lent has come to us. During these forty days, Christians are invited to practice penance, prayer and almsgiving. Fasting as part of penance, is an imitation of the fasting which Jesus did in the wilderness for a period of forty days before he officially started his public ministry (Mt. 4:1-1-11). With signs of weeping and mourning for our sins, the invitatory antiphon for the Lenten season is calling on us to repent and believe in the Gospel. It is the starting point for conversion and total commitment to God. This is a period of seeking God’s grace and fighting against evil and Satan who is the great enemy of man.
There is a dichotomy between the Kingdom of God and that of Satan for which reason evil and good co-exist in this world. This calls for the making of a fundamental choice since one can’t have both. You either choose God’s Kingdom or Satan; the choice is a personal one. “This is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the origin of all that God has created. “I know what you have done; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! But you because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, am going to spit you out of my mouth!”(Revelation 3:14-16) It is a battle to win God’s kingdom and only those who are stronger in fighting for it can win it. Jesus once said: “I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than any man who has ever lived. But he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John”. From the time John preached his message until this very day the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violent attacks, and violent men try to seize it (Mathew 11:11-12). What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; in worship of idols and witchcraft. Enmity has made its home amongst us; we are overcome with jealousy, anger, and inordinate ambitions. We break into parties and groups; envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like are not far from us. St. Paul warns us that those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God (cf. Galatians 5:19-21). We have to conquer bodily passions in order to discipline ourselves.
The only way to win this fight is to start with the three pillars of Penance which are: Prayer life, which helps us to overcome temptation. “Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the evil one. Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Mt 6:13; 26:41). Fasting or mortification; which helps us to discipline our bodily passions which in most cases drive us into sin. And the last one is the act of Charity or almsgiving; exercising the practice of helping others who are in need. (Mt. 25:40) Always remember this, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” (Acts 20:35)
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