For some time now, we have lived in an “us” versus “them” culture. Whether it’s religious versus nonreligious, rich versus poor, left versus right, or something else altogether, someone is always made out to be the enemy. We fight so much with others that we lose sight of our true enemy—and that is the devil himself.
He is the one who not only orchestrates the anger that leads to fighting and contempt, but he is the one who revels in it.
This week, we have a tangible reminder that the devil did not win 2,000 years ago, nor will he win today.
On Good Friday, Christ allowed Himself to be crucified for our sins. He didn’t have to atone for sins He didn’t commit, but He did so out of immense love for us. He endured shameful whippings, a painful crowning, and a tortuous crucifixion. Christ did this because we belong to Him. We are His.
This act of pure love could never have been undertaken by anyone other than the one who made us.
Certainly, no act of love can ever be undertaken by Lucifer. That is why he delights in the hatred and anger that people sow. That is why he rejoices in our divisions. That is why he tempts us to sin.
And tempts us he does—every day. I recently read a poignant conversation in a book entitled Change of Possession. The words struck me when I first read them and have resonated with me in the several months since. Inside the confessional, a devastated wife and mother pours her heart out to the priest, who responds, “The devil, Anne, is both consoler and accuser. Before the sin, he whispers, ‘It’s okay. You deserve this.’ But once you have sinned, he becomes the accuser and tells you ‘You are worthless; you cannot be redeemed.’”
I cannot think of a more powerful description of the enemy of life.
You are worthless. You cannot be redeemed. You mean nothing. This is what the devil tells us. And when we believe those whispers, when we feel worthless, when we lose sight of Christ’s gift of Himself, we lose sight of everything good in this world.
But when we look to Christ on the cross, we see an action born of love—an action that says You mean everything.
The devil was wrong. We are redeemable. Christ told us so. And every time we see His broken body on the crucifix, we see evidence of this. There is no one who ever lived or who will ever live whom Christ did not die for.
On Good Friday, many of Christ’s disciples lost hope. Not only did they lose hope, but they themselves felt lost. Some wondered, What do we do now?
I imagine that this sense of loss, this despair, and this anguish is a lot like what people today who do not know Christ or who have rejected Him feel. Sure, there may be some fun in their lives. There may be some happiness. But those things are fleeting. At the end of the day, just as at the end of Good Friday, they still feel lost and alone.
That is why Easter Sunday brings such joy. Love triumphs! Our Lord triumphs!
Several years ago, my parish had a priest who would stand in the parking lot before Mass every Easter morning shouting, “He’s alive! He’s alive!”
The joy of that empty tomb is unmistakable. The joy of knowing that Christ not only died but rose from the dead is something no one can ever take away—even our greatest enemy.
So as we approach the most glorious day of the year, let us remember who our true enemy is. Let us be the ones to stop the hatred of others, to stop the insults, to cease the pointless fighting, to preach with love and compassion all that our Lord taught and died for, and to work every day to bring our culture back to one that respects all human beings.
This is what Christ died for.
And let us never forget that He won. He is alive!
Happy Easter from all of us at Celebrate Life Magazine!
This article first appeared in Catholic 365 at The Devil Moved from Garden of Eden to Easter (catholic365.com).