Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

(Ephesians 1:1-10; Luke 11:47-54)

A philosopher was talking about evil.  He saw some benefit coming from it.  The Ebola virus, he might say, enables caregivers to demonstrate courage and compassion in treating the disease’s victims.  But the philosopher could not see a greater good in the demonstration of virtue than all the destruction that Ebola causes.  He will ask, “How could a good and omnipotent God allow the virus to wreck such havoc?”  Religion has traditionally considered this question as a mystery.  The Letter to the Ephesians today sees that mystery being brought to light in Jesus Christ.

Ancients understand that evil is the result of sin.  They do not believe that individuals necessarily suffer because of their own sins.  But they sense that disorder in the world, put in motion by the first humans, perpetuates itself through collective human sinning.  Now, the Letter to the Ephesians claims, God’s purpose in allowing evil to thrive has been revealed in Christ.  Through the shedding of Christ’s blood human sins have been forgiven.  There still is suffering, but at the end of time those people who recognize Christ will rise from the dead to reign with him forever.

We may still wonder why some humans suffer so terribly and why children suffer at all.  Perhaps we will never convince skeptics that in the end God will make all things well.  But we know in faith that adversity not only calls us to love one another but also reveals to us the dimensions of our sins and the immensity of the Christ’s victory.