This Sunday, On Easter, Say, ‘Not Today, Satan. Not Ever. We Know Our Father Now’

Not today, Satan. This Sunday is Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of The Lord and it’s a day to celebrate, because Satan has been unmasked for good, as a pathetic figure who only gains false power from lies.

Let’s review what just happened.

Satan thought St. Peter was his crowning achievement, but God knew better.

Peter was the head of the Apostles, so Satan wanted to single him out, to strike the shepherd so the sheep would be scattered; he thought if he could get Peter, he could “sift” them all “like wheat.”

Satan did his work the way he always does, and he thought he won. Satan preys on love of comfort, and Peter slept in the garden; he provokes through our drive for power, and Peter lashed out with his sword; he bets that we love ourselves more than God, and the “Rock” of the Church denied Jesus three times.

Well, look at Peter now.

There he is in Sunday’s Gospel, running to the tomb at the first word, his love overpowering his desire for comfort. Look at him in the First Reading, teaching that real power comes not from violence but from the Holy Spirit. And see him proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. They will have to kill him to make him stop.

That is what Easter has made possible, and it’s something every one of us needs.

Satan’s method has been the same since the beginning.

Satan hates women, ever since he saw God’s amazing love for the Woman described in Revelation, and Satan hates fathers, because he hates God the Father.

So, when God gave the first woman and our first human father every good thing — beauty, abundance and peace — Satan lashed out in jealous rage.

He poisoned us against our loving Father and we believed him. Satan said God’s way would fail us, but that Satan’s way would empower us and we took the deal. But we didn’t become like gods as Satan promised and we didn’t live forever. Instead, we got what Peter got: the painful desires of triple concupiscence which bring only tears and regret.

What are the three disordered desires we got?

First, we were “subjugated to the pleasure of the senses.” We began grabbing all the pleasures we could, because Satan told us the Father wanted to hold them back. God offers us a full life of abundant joy — even making man for woman and woman for man — but instead of living in that joy, we chose Satan’s cheap comforts and empty thrills — and got addiction, pain, and degradation. Satan was the first to mock us for falling for his tricks. He laughed at us and told us we are dirty, ugly, and pathetic — because he knows that, like traumatized victims, we will keep coming back.

Second, we were filled with “covetousness for earthly goods” and we threw ourselves into a lifestyle of constant grasping for wealth, chasing after the next thing we had to have, only to find our aching need for more getting bigger, not smaller, with every attempt to satiate it. God wanted to make us all billionaires of Providence; he gave us all the beauty, truth and bounty of the world to enjoy, but Satan played us for fools, keeping us constantly working, constantly worrying, piling debt on debt, paying dearly for cheap imitations of what God already gave us for free.

Third, Satan tricked us into “self-assertion contrary to the dictates of reason” and then laughed at us as we pushed our weight around, each insisting on our own way, thinking fawning thoughts about ourselves while we clench our tiny fists, infuriated that we aren’t being given the special treatment we deserve. God wanted to make us royal sons and daughters, but instead we become volunteers in Satan’s terror cell, judging and undermining each other, doing his destructive work for free.

That was what Adam and Eve and Peter — and you and I — got from the devil in exchange for our infinitely valuable souls.

But today, along comes Easter to blow the whole sick system apart.

As St. Paul puts it this Sunday, “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed; let us then feast with joy in the Lord.”

That’s quite a statement. When we look at Jesus crucified, he wants us to see a lamb splayed and sacrificed. And when we are trapped and taunted by Satan, he wants us to look past him and see Jesus’s pierced hand outstretched, inviting us to a table of plenty.

When Peter was broken and defeated, weeping bitterly for his sins, Satan thought he had him. But that was where Jesus found him. The wounded Jesus met Peter in his wounds. Only in defeat was Peter finally ready to reach for Christ.

When Peter relied on Peter, Peter fell. When Peter relied on Jesus, he arose.

And when we rely on ourselves, we are easy pickings for the devil. But when we unite ourselves with Jesus, he carries us up from our degradation to the glory of the resurrected life, leaving our stony tombs behind.

On Easter, we are witnesses to the grand reversal of all of Satan’s gains.

See what the Father is doing with sinners? He is giving us back what we lost in Eden.

In his Easter Sermon Peter gleefully announces that “Everyone who believes in Jesus will receive forgiveness of his sins through his name” and that the friends of Jesus “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”

In other words, on Easter, God is restoring Eden, forgiving our sins to restore our innocence, and walking with his beloved children in the garden once again. Every communicant at Easter Mass can say with Peter that we “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”

“He who has seen me has seen the Father,” said Jesus. We know Our Father now. Satan said that he would show us how to live forever. It was a lie. The Father gives us life; it’s Satan who wants us dead. “Death and life have contended in combat,” as the Easter Sequence says, and “The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.”

We got driven from the garden when we gave ourselves to Satan, but now, Satan is the one getting driven out. We were baptized into Jesus’s death so that we could share Jesus’s life. Now all that remains is to stay in his grace and live in his love.

So, on Easter Sunday, we say: Not today, Satan. Not ever. We reject you, and all you works, and all your empty show; we renounce sin and the lure of evil.

We choose Christ instead. And we pray: Stay with us, Jesus. Give us the courage to choose you again and again, today and every day. Deliver us from evil. Keep us close to our Father. Give us the grace to never be fooled again.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.