Have you ever felt like you can conquer the world? If not, why not? St. John gives us some good insight into that in our first reading today. More in a moment. In our Gospel reading from Luke 4, we get a glimpse of a most amazing moment in the life of Jesus. He is in the temple when He reads from the scroll, then says something that must have been striking to those within earshot. When you read today’s passage, put yourself in that temple and ask yourself how you might have felt hearing Jesus say what He did.
There have been any number of people throughout history who have tried to conquer the world. Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler come to mind. Unfortunately, they were trying to conquer the world in a “worldly” manner. St. John tells us today that we can conquer the world. Only he is talking about “the world” in a spiritual sense. “Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” This passage always reminds me of an old cheer that our cheerleaders did at our high school football games when they would spell out the word victory. Only now I envision the angels and saints doing that cheer for us!
Does it seem as though sometimes you just can’t win? That sinful thoughts or habit patterns keep getting the best of you? This spiritual walk can often seem a real uphill struggle. But we CAN have victory. Only, we can’t have victory on our own. The victory over the world is won through our faith in Christ Jesus. And this is no small victory, my friend! This is world-beating stuff! Can you feel it? Do you believe?
Father, we thank you for the gift of faith, that gives us victory over the world. Help us to rely fully on the victory that can only come through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.