Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 3:1-6.9-12; Matthew 11:25-27)
The world was shocked a few weeks ago by the crash of an airliner into the Atlantic off the coast of Brazil. More than 200 lives were lost in an instant. Why, people ask, did it happen? As terrible as that disaster was, there are certainly other even more perplexing calamities taking place all the time. Why, we might as well ask, does humanity continue to suffer so much from poverty, disease, natural calamity, and war?
We believers put the question another way. Why does God permit so much evil? If God is as good and as powerful as we claim, why does He not halt the violence, end the disease, and stem the disaster? These are ancient questions that resist definitive answers. But there are multiple attestations in Scripture showing how God takes note of human precariousness and acts to relieve its conditions. In today’s reading from Exodus we hear of God coming to the rescue of Israel trapped in an intolerably unjust situation.
God not only will deliver the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt but will also form them into a people that conform to His ways. Looking back on the history of Israel, we Christians will recognize that the Israelites’ unique covenant with God will not be enough to stem the tide of evil. A more powerful solution will be required. This will be God’s sending in time His son, the Christ, to save humanity. But salvation does not end suffering, on this earth at least. Evil is no weed easy to uproot. Still victory belongs to those who conform themselves to Christ. He will relocate them in a new world where war, disease, and disaster are void.