Evil must be overcome, but we must also learn from evil, what evil can teach us. In short, such is the message of this Sunday’s readings. The first reading is a prophetic denunciation, taken from one of the great prophets of what we would call today in favor of “social justice.” This is Amos, a peasant who was called by God to do a hard and long labor: unmasking the injustices that were committed in the kingdom of Israel and in particular at Bethel’s sanctuary. The most interesting part of today’s passage is that it uncovers the strategy of all who want to be bandits, but without being noticed, that is, within a certain margin of “legality.” There is the one who wants the religious celebration (the “new moon”) to pass soon to take out his product, the one that alters the balance, the one who defeats the bran as if it were wheat, and so on. Today, the examples would surely be others: the one who does money launder, the one who manages the accounting of his company, the one who approves in the congress laws favorable to his family or friends, the wholesaler who does not pay taxes but does charge it to the consumer. For all of them, there is a blunt word from the prophet, which is summed up in this: “God has seen it. You can deceive everyone, but not God.”
It is clear, then, that evil is detestable and that, although many people can be deceived, they can never escape from the eyes of the One who sees everything. Today’s Gospel, however, surprises us with a new idea: why not learn from cheats? There are two notable things here. The first thing is that evil is never absolute, in the sense that, as St. Thomas teaches, there is nothing so bad that it does not have something good. This same saint says that, although God is good without a mixture of evil, there is no evil without a mixture of good. And that proves one in many ways. For example: to tell a lie you have to wrap it in some truth; to catch someone in a vice, you have to offer some pleasure, and so on.
In a slightly more practical way, today’s Gospel invites us to assume a courageous and humble attitude at the same time in the face of the creativity of perverse people. The administrator of today’s text found himself in trouble and used his head to find a way out. Are we this adventurous and intelligent when our evangelization projects or our efforts for a more supportive world seem to be blocked? Or are we more of those who give up when a bad face appears, a package is delayed or they don’t serve us well in an office? Is that ALL the love we have for our cause and our Lord? Be courageous and act on your faith.
Catechists, youths, children, and Faith Formation Staff, welcome back to a new year of learning!
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Peace and all Good,