There is a story about a 5-year-old boy who climbed up on a tractor, pushed a button and started the tractor. As he drove down the road he destroyed 5 cars. When people talked to him about it, he said, “I knew how to start it, but could not stop it”.

That is the way it can be with us. We can start a lot of things but cannot stop them. For instance, smoking, taking drugs, taking alcohol, swearing, stealing, etc. We become prisoners of the things we cannot control.

A prisoner was once asked, “Why are you in jail”? He said, “because I cannot get out”.

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We are born free but end up as slaves. We become the “captives” that we pray about in our liturgy every day. We need to be liberated. What is holding us captive? Today’s Gospel talks about this.

Jesus tells us that it is the evil spirit. He says, “the devil is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).  St Paul, speaking of the devil (Cor 2: 11-14) says that Satan masquerades as “an angel of light”. Jesus tells us to pray, “deliver us from the evil one”. (Mat 5:13) The devil makes everything seem so beautiful and necessary. He makes everything, he temps us with, appear as if it was the truth.

Because of the sins of Adam and Eve, we want to be like God, to have power, authority, to be free and to make our own rules.

But Jesus say (Mt 6: 24), “No man can serve two masters”.

St John (1John 4:4) says, “You are from God, and have overcome evil because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”. Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Satan will always lose if we call on Jesus.

Some of the sins that dominate us can only be cured when we admit that we are powerless over them and ask God to give us the strength to overcome them.

We must pray that Jesus may come to us and break the chains which hold us prisoners. We will then be people that we were created to be.

In Psalm 14:2-7 we pray, “bring my soul out of prison so that I may praise Your Name”. We on our own cannot free ourselves from sins. We need the help of God. Our prayer needs to be direct and honest. Jesus came to this world to set us all free from prison which is created by the evil one. Let us pray.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

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