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Gospel Questions - 21st Sunday

We live in an age of great contrasts between good and evil. There are many who live the gospel, and many who don’t. There are a large number in the middle who are indifferent, apathetic, and apparently unaware of the moral and spiritual dangers of our time. Sin and evil are wide spread as are virtue and good. No age has been more open to evil and good at the same time as our age.

Young people grow up viewing great moral evils and in too many instances becoming involved in them. The scriptures remind us we can’t look on evil and not become in some way involved and affected by it. Neither can we look on good and not become affected and involved in some way.

Only the good can overtake the bad. We have a lot of evil to overcome in an age of open immorality which far surpasses the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed for its immorality. We seem to have as many people teaching and giving examples of immorality as we do people teaching and giving examples of morality. The media makes it possible for a few people to influence millions. Most of the scripts and songs for the nation’s entertainment are written and carried out by non-believers and even people who are hostile to the Biblical teachings of the Old and New Testaments. The sins of the nation are seen daily on the evening news, acts of violence on every level of life.

When these periods come into human history, God acts to restore the balance. The history of God with the Old and New Testament peoples and the history of the Church tells us that eventually God acts against sin so as to save the human race. He may speak through the natural laws of nature He has created. Nature eventually revolts against abuse and violations. God acts through human events and people. In the Old Testament He allowed the enemies of God’s people to be the instruments of chastisement, such as in the Babylonian Captivity or in this century through the Communists in Russia. Sooner or later, if our nation continues down the paths of grave moral evils, we may have to face some suffering times of chastisement so as to be purified and restored morally and spiritually.

In the scripture from Isaiah we have the example of God removing Shebna from office and replacing him with someone else. “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Up, go to that official Shebna, master of the palace,” “I will thrust you from your office…I will summon my servant Eliakim…I will clothe him with your robe…and give him your authority.” Psalm 138 reminds us that God’s love is eternal, and His work of creation He will not forsake, even if it means smashing it and rebuilding it at times. A lot of human lives bear witness to God’s love in this way. Some are crippled in some way in this life so that they can be whole in the risen life to come in eternity.

The workings of the Lord involve many mysteries. As Paul proclaimed, “How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!” The Lord sees the whole of human history and the whole of the life of each individual person. The Lord allows certain evils to take place, but acts also to bring greater good from them. The life, passion, cross, death and resurrection of Jesus is a constant witness to this truth.

The questions of the Gospel can send us in the right direction in our lives in the midst of many mysteries. Two important questions of Jesus are in Matthew’s Gospel. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” People were identifying Jesus with the great prophets, John the Baptizer, Elijah and Jeremiah. Many more today know who Jesus is and many of the important events and teachings of His life. This basic and important knowledge has to move to a deeper level in one’s life. The knowledge learned about Jesus is to affect the way we live. It is to lead us into a personal bond of faith, grace and love for the Lord.

“And you,” He said to them, “who do you say that I am?” The answer we give to the Lord in our hearts determines how we live in a world filled with good and evil.

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