Last year there was a seminar at the University of Santo Tomas on Exorcism. This was participated by over 100 priests and over 100 lay people involved in the ministry. If you heard the talk, there are things that would have crossed your mind: The devil is real, hell is real and the devil will do anything and everything in its power to bring us away from God. This can be through temptation, obsession, oppression, or even possession.
A case study was shown: The moment the spirit in a pregnant woman revealed itself, the very first thing it did was hit the woman’s stomach saying, “I will kill this baby.” Why does the devil hate babies? Because we are created in the image and the likeness of God. Hence a dead baby is a victory for the devil. In previous years, the devil celebrated 60 million times a year, which is the number of the estimated abortions done.
Hence the message of Jesus for us in the Gospel: Go through the narrow gate. In other words, never opt for an easy life. Instead, opt for a meaningful life. Three of the many things we can do:
- Forgiveness. How many of us go through life with anger. We always have someone to blame for our misery. We always go back to the painful events in our lives. We have to move on because life is short and swift. Forgiveness is not easy; it is a process and it is trusting God with our hurts in life. “Lord this is painful, but I trust you know what is best.”
- Trust God. We always say we trust God but why do we have so many superstitious practices. We go to a wake and have to pass by a restaurant for pagpag so that the spirits do not go with us to the house. We go to Mass on a Sunday so that God will not punish us. Trust God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. He will never abandon you.
- Giving. How often do we forget that we came into the world with nothing and we are leaving the world with nothing? Further, the only thing we can bring to the next life is the kindness that we have shown others. Yet we live in a generation that is all about me, myself, and I, forgetting that all our lives are intertwined. We make a life by what we give.
When Jesus was asked how many will be saved, notice he did not answer the question. Why? It is our decision. He respects our free will. He respects our choice. Yes, Heaven is real, very real…but hell too is very real. The choice is ours.