Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Exodus 33:7-11.34:5b-9.28; Matthew 13:36-43)

Years ago a movie entitled “The Bad Seed” showed an eight year-old girl twice committing murder.  It turned out that the child was the natural daughter of a serial killer.  The movie along with today’s gospel, which could be given the same title, begs the questions: Is the doing of evil predetermined by factors such as nature or, to take the contrary position, environment?  Or does each human person have a free will to choose right from wrong?

In the gospel Jesus uses a parable to illustrate why God allows evil to exist in the world.  He is not giving a philosophical discourse on its origins.  As the world knows, good and bad populate the earth simultaneously.  Jesus is saying that God allows the coexistence in order that the good may not be harmed in an attempt to eradicate evil.  But, he assures, in the end the good will remain and the wicked will be consumed. 

As research continually shows, both genetics and environment affect how we behave.  Yet there is a core choice that each person makes that supersedes these tendencies.  Those inclined toward aggressiveness can choose reconciliation.  Those raised in households virulent with lies can opt for the truth.  Christ will determine at the end of time the extent of each person’s achievement.  Our task is to pursue goodness as best as we can and to set example for others.