The Devil in God’s Trap

Easter Sunday!
Beloved in the Lord: Jesus Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!
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Today is Easter, and if Good Friday was a day of sorrow, then today is a day of Victory. Christ has won the victory for mankind; for you and for me. This victory in which we bask today, is a victory over sin, and death, and Satan, and the story of this victory goes back to the dawn of the human race.
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The first man and woman were created in a state of happiness. But then came temptation by that fallen angel: ‘Follow me,’ he says, I will make you happier.’ So our race fell into the trap, and we became slaves to the Ancient Serpent. ‘You are mine now, you fools,’ ‘you are under my power,’ he says. and the devil was happy about it.
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Originally, death had been unknown to us, but now our race is subject to death. Satan became prince of this world, he is a heavy taskmaster. But the Good God did not give up on us. He promised a Savior, who would bring us back, out of this slavery. The Lord had a master-plan to overthrow the devil. And so he sent his own Son secretly into the world as one of us.
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From the moment Christ was born, the Ancient Enemy was suspicious: This Christ, just might be the promised Messiah, and that meant all out warfare. So he tempted the Lord in the desert – tried to figure out who he is. He whispered to King Herod: ‘kill the child. He whispered to the Pharisees: ‘he is a threat to you.’ To Judas: ‘get rid of him.’
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The devil was determined to destroy this Messiah, so that his slaves would be his forever. To Pontius Pilate, and to the crowds he whispered: ‘Jesus must die! And so Christ on Good Friday was nailed to the Cross. That day it seemed to be a defeat for Christ, but actually, it was a trap for the devil.
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An artist once painted the famous Merode alterpiece in Belgium. And in this painting, we see St. Joseph. Now St. Joseph in the scriptures, is a symbol for God the Father. And in this painting, St. Joseph, who is a carpenter – who works in wood – he is depicted, as making a special mouse-trap. He is making this mousetrap out of wood – to catch the Mouse. Who is the ‘Mouse, that he will catch? It is the devil.
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And so Joseph, or really, God the Father, is making a trap, to catch the Mouse. St. Augustine says this: ‘What is this trap, made by a Carpenter – who works in wood? ‘God’s Trap for the devil, is the Cross.
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And who is the bait, placed on the Trap? It is Jesus, he himself becomes the bait. As St. Anselm says, Jesus is the ‘sweet bait, by which He will catch the devil.
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And so, intoxicated with pride, the devil makes a huge mistake; he became reckless, and in his frenzy to condemn Christ, he put the sins of the entire world onto an innocent man – but he had no right, he had no rightful authority over the innocent Son of God. The devil took the bait. Hook, line, and sinker.
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At the death of Christ, the devil jumped for joy. ‘I’ve won! ‘I’ve won.’ ‘The Christ is beaten, and these slaves are mine forever.’ But he would have a great surprise, on the 3rd Day – that is today. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. And the stone is rolled away! ‘What is this, says Satan?’ ‘Something is wrong.’ And Mary looks into the tomb – and no body. And the angel says: he is not here! He is risen!!
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‘Risen?’  And that word rings in the devil’s head: ‘Risen? That’s impossible? He was brutally crucified, I saw to that! ‘Risen? Then I have been defeated.
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Yes says Jesus. You have lost. Sin, and death, and you, have been conquered Now give me what I want!   –   What do you want? He wants us. ‘Give me now, my children!! All of them!’
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And as it is written… ‘The great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who leads astray the whole world; and he was cast down, and I heard a voice in heaven say, ‘Now has come the salvation, and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of Christ; for the accuser of our brethren has been cast down. And they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb. Therefore rejoice O heavens. Rejoice.’ (Rev 12:9-12)
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Our sins are forgiven, and Christ has saved the world. So let us love Jesus and Mary and become saints for Christ; praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.   +

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Paul]

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