Goodness to Come Of Evil? God Says “YES”!
We’re on the “eve” of the great week we annually call “Holy”. The opportunities and challenges of Lent continue to draw us deeper into the Paschal Mystery.
Today’s Scriptures highlight the providential love of God for everyone — even the sinful. John’s Gospel recounts the plotting of the chief priests, Scribes and Sanhedrin to kill Jesus. Jesus preached healing and love, attracting many followers. The high priest Caiaphas expressed his idea that one man should die instead of many people, based on his fear that the Romans would disturb the status quo and rob the freedom and land of Israel. Jesus’ death? Tragedy! Evil! …and Salvific!
From our 21st Century vantage point, no doubt Jesus’ death on the Cross was better than the whole human race “perishing” in sin. God’s plan was that the life, suffering and death of Jesus would bring about atonement for the world’s sinfulness; Divine Love would triumph; goodness would blossom from evil, risen life from crucifixion. As one author put it: Good Friday didn’t spoil the weekend…
This Lent is a unique journey of faith! The pandemic experience of global sickness and death, of fear and isolation, of short-sightedness and confusion – all are vivid examples of 21st century Evil. Yet as we ponder the life of Jesus, as we dig deep as men and women of faith, as we come together as a faith community within our socially isolated spaces…God can and will bring new life and goodness from the evil we experience. Just as God brought about good from the evil plot to kill Jesus, God will bring about good in our day. We are to be men and women of ever-deepening faith, selfless and generous in union with Jesus, firmly confessing that “God is in charge”.
May we enter these concluding days of Lent embracing our share in the Cross of Jesus. As proclaimed in the Responsorial Psalm from Jeremiah 31, God shall guard us; God will redeem us; God will turn our mourning into joy and console and gladden us. God lovingly says: “Yes!” And we today add our “Amen!”
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.