19 July 2020
Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-30
Why is there evil in our world? Couldn’t God do away with it? I don’t know. I just know there is evil in our world. I look around and I see weeds and I see wheat.
Jesus, the very Son of God, simply accepts this fact of evil as well. He doesn’t pretend it isn’t there. Nor does he attempt to make it go away. When his disciples asked him about it, he responded with the plain fact that evil and good are inextricably intertwined together. Mess with one and you disturb the other.
The Book of Wisdom goes a step further. It teaches that the bad and the good grow together because life on this earth is neither black nor white but gray. Change is not only possible, but a given. In the words of Wisdom, hope is the environment in which we live because God’s power is most manifest in forbearance and there is always the opportunity for repentance.
Are not our own lives a testament to this reality? We fall and we get up again, we fall and we get up again. If there were no weeds in this world, would we even exist? Yet when our hearts condemn us, God is there to raise us up; God is there to forgive; God is there to act with mildness and leniency.
So, do we really want to live in a world with no evil?
Saint Paul adds another dimension. We don’t even know how to repent but we are not for that reason bereft of the benefit of life with God. The very Spirit of God has been poured into our hearts for this precise reason. The Spirit intercedes before the Father with groans that go to the very depths of existence. They are groans which flow from the anguish of creation at the mixture of good and evil, groans which come from our own experience of our incomplete state, groans which no human words can utter or express.
So, do we really want to live in a world without evil?
Our Responsorial Psalm brings the circle to a close. Lord, you are good and forgiving. Our response to evil in this world, our response to evil in our own lives, our response to the evil we discover in our own inner heart, is a gaze toward God. Far from blaming God for all this evil, we rejoice in the great revelation which gives substance to our hope: the goodness of God.
Let us ask God to deepen this conviction within us. When we see evil, when injustice raises its ugly head, when we experience weakness and sin, let us turn to God in hope and praise him that the weeds and the wheat grow together. Then it is that God’s mercy can shine forth all in its beauty and power.