The Table of the Lord!

Psalm 23:5

Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup overflows.

One wag has suggested a sort of “negative evangelism” campaign with bumper stickers that read “Satan Hates You and Has a Terrible Plan for Your Life”.  It’s a whimsical idea and one that is not entirely without foundation in Scripture.  For the fact is, we do have an Enemy in the fallen angel who is Satan.  And, as unpleasant as it sounds, it doesn’t matter if we disbelieve in him: he still believes in us and hates us because he hates God.  In the unthinkable choice made before all worlds to make himself and not God the center of his existence, Satan rejected once and for all not only God but all that God loves.  Satan, being infinitely less than God, can never defeat God.  But, in a parody of divine charity, he can stoop to the smallest viciousness just as God stoops to do the smallest kindness.  And so, from the very start, Satan has sought to destroy that creature made in the image of God for the same reason any cruel man would kill the son or daughter of his enemy: because they are dearer to the enemy than his own life.  And so, Satan tempted our first parents to reject God and embrace death.  But God became man and embraced death himself, destroying it from the inside out.  And now, at every Eucharist he prepares a banquet before us in the presence of our Enemy.  In every baptism and confirmation, he anoints our head with oil.  That is why St. Paul tells us that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”  The Enemy of God has succeeded only in putting himself outside in the dark looking in through the kitchen window.  Even his schemes have only made sure that God has died for our sins and established the eternal Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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