In today's Gospel, Jesus points out that when a strong, armed man guards his possessions, they tend to be pretty safe...until, that is, one stronger arrives. This stronger one overcomes the other, takes away his arms, and liberates his possessions. The victory belongs to the stronger one.
That stronger one is, of course, Jesus. The first strong, armed man is the enemy. He might seem strong; he might carry fearsome weapons to guard his possessions, the human souls he claims as his own. But Jesus is stronger. He can easily overcome the enemy, throw his weapons in the trash heap, and free the captive souls.
Therefore, we must stay close beside Jesus, the stronger One, Who will always protect us.
Friday – No Strange God
God justly demands that we worship Him alone. He is our Creator, our Father, our Savior, the One Who loves us beyond all telling, the One Who showers His grace upon us. He deserves our total devotion, our whole hearts, our entire selves.
So we must have no strange gods, nothing that strives to take His place in our worship and in our minds and hearts. We might think of idols here, “gods” of wood or stone or metal, and decide that this command doesn't apply to us. But other things can become strange gods, too: money, possessions, fame, honor, some particular goal, even another person. We can worship these, and give them our devotion, our hearts, and even ourselves.
We must not do this. We must worship God alone and none other. So may it be. Amen.
Saturday – The Annunciation
Mary was so young, but she was totally focused on God. Her prayer was perfect communion with Him. She had given herself completely to Him to remain a virgin forever.
It's easy, then, to understand her confusion and fear when Gabriel appeared to tell her that she will have a son. She believed him, of course, for she knew the truth when she heard it. But she wondered how this would happen, and she didn't hesitate to ask.
Gabriel, in turn, didn't hesitate to explain that the Holy Spirit would come down upon her, and Mary accepted his explanation. Again, she recognized the truth.
Then she said yes to God's request, for that's what it was: a request. God would not force her; she must make the choice for herself. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And it was.