Homily 14th Sunday OT 7th July 2024

Homily 14th Sunday OT 7th July 2024

It may surprise you that one of the most difficult jobs in the world is to tell the difference between good and evil. What is the face of evil? Count Dracula? Frankenstein, a man-made monster, who left to himself will destroy and hurt?

Some unknown horror run a muck? The product of nightmares or of the imagination of a film director? If evil looked like any of those it would never attract anyone.

No, real evil is clear, brushed, scrubbed, shinning and smelling of the best perfume. He or she seems solicitous, asking “How may I help you?”; uses the correct spoon at dinner, knows the right wines and is snare and cool.

Laughs in elegant parties, cries at Mozart, and has a piece of enough cor[orate structures to support him. Most dangerous, his/her inner thoughts and desires are wicked, but their smile and pleasing appearance lead even the careful into a trap.

Evil always involves spiritual death. It is not their sins per se that characterise evil people – everyone falls on occasion – but rather it’s the persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the control defect of evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.

When Jesus came to Nazareth in the scene in this weekend’s Gospel, those at the Synagogue had to make a choice between good and evil. They made the wrong choice. They rejected goodness. Their rejection of him was not a product of a personality clash, temperamental difference, or issues related to immaturity and behaviour, but followed from Jesus’ faith and commitment. It was easier for them – as it is for us – to do nothing than to do something. Easier to be negative than positive, easier to be destructive than creative – easier in short to confuse good with evil. The anonymous student poet put it well:

“I will do more than belong – I will participate,
I will do more than care – I will help,
I will do more than believe – I will practice,
I will do more than forgive – I will be kind,
I will do more than earn – I will enrich,
I will do more than teach – I will serve,
I will do more than live – I will grow,
I will do more than be friendly – I will be a friend”

In the responsorial psalm a few moments ago, we said, “Our eyes are fixed on the Lord.” That is the bottom line of what differentiates good from evil. Let us pray for goodness: that God will make us a courageous as the prophet Ezekiel to speak his word to our world, that we may be as able as St Paul to find strength in our weaknesses, and that we may follow the way of Jesus in order to share God’s word with others, even when others are unwilling to listen.”

Fr Andrew