Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Exodus 3:1-6.9-12; Matthew 11:25-27)

The other day a woman left a picture of her five-year old grandson Luke in the sacristy.  She asked for prayers for the boy who had a brain tumor.  After mass she explained that the surgeons operated on him once but couldn’t tell if they were the tumor or his brain.  Now they were operating again.  How, people ask, could God allow a child to be stricken so?  As terrible as Luke’s cancer is, there are certainly other 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 often put the question another way.  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 suffering and acts to relieve its conditions.  In today’s first reading 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 according to His law.  Looking back on the history of Israel, we Christians 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 to save humanity.  But even that will not end suffering on earth.  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 eternally void.