First Reading: Colossians 1:24-2:3
Gospel: Luke 6:6-11
DO GOOD RATHER THAN EVIL
Today we remember the thousands of men and women who died on 9/11 – sixteen years ago – and the thousands upon thousands affected by these evil acts. We also remember the heroism of first responders and the generosity of countless others who stepped forward to assist. We pray that we will never experience such horror again. Instant communication; however, keeps us alerted to the fact that Evil not only visited us sixteen years ago but that Evil flourishes in every corner of our world. I don’t have to spell it out. Just look around: from the hate driven Islamic militants to North Korean insanity; from African genocides to White supremacists, evil choreographed by Evil itself is universally present.
How are we to respond to Evil? With evil deeds? No! With denial by retreating into our own little worlds and shutting the doors? No! There is only one response. Today’s Gospel points to the only true response. Jesus finds Himself in one of His usual confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees. He sees a man with a withered hand and calls him to Himself. He looks at His ravenous enemies and says to them: “…is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” The scribes and Pharisees do not know how to respond. Jesus then restores the hand of the man. Jesus doesn’t just simply verbally defend Himself, but He takes positive action and heals a man. He responds to evil with good. And that is how we are to respond. Evil is in the DNA of our world, but we do not have to be complacent about it. We can take positive actions to bring about healing.
I recently had a long chat with a retired Christian minister. He was telling me about his ministry in East Los Angeles a number of years ago following serious rioting. He got some vacant property and a few benefactors and built a primitive gym and recreational shelter for vulnerable neighborhood teenagers. He ran it for a number of years. He took some pride in telling me that three former male gang members went to college, graduated and got decent jobs as a result of his efforts. He said that it was a small contribution but the reality is that it was a life-saving contribution for three young men. He made a difference and now they are in a position to make a difference. Evil can only be overcome by goodness in action!
Brother Andre Mathieu, C.P.