Such evil

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies. It comes from friends and loved ones.

We find this nugget of wisdom embedded in the fabric of our readings today.

In the first reading (Gen 37:3-4; 12-13; 17-28), Joseph’s very own brothers sold him as a slave. This is of course a happy compromise because they initially wanted to kill him–only because he was their dad’s favorite.

Meanwhile, our Gospel (Mt 21: 31-43; 45-46) features a stinging parable about the wicked tenants who refused to give the land owner the harvest of his land. They seized, beat and stoned his own messenger

But apparently, these actions seemed only a groundwork for their most evil deed yet. For when the landowner sent his son, assuming that they would respect him because he is his heir, they killed him instead.

Indeed, such evil.

But these readings come more alive when we realize that this is not a story of the past, it is a story of today. The reality of sin and evil surrounds us: We read them from the news, we experience them first hand.

And what is more, these readings convey that we, too, are capable of selling our own brothers. We, too, have the capacity to murder someone by the sharpness and sting of our tongues. We, too, can betray those who have shown us goodness.

However, amidst this backdrop, we are reminded that in every act of evil committed, unleashes a million acts of kindness.

How, for example, could some brothers find reason to take care of our sheep—give them food and water regularly—when they are hardheaded, dirty, and stinky.

How, for example, could some brothers find reason to approach the warmers when everybody has already gotten food, and the best portions of the viands have already been taken away.

Amidst this backdrop of evil, our liturgy reminds us, through the responsorial psalm “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.”

We are here as one community of sinful men, basking on the fount and summit of God’s mercy, the Holy Eucharist. As we continue our Lenten journey, let us beg the Lord to make us instruments of His goodness so that in the face of evil, His glory continues to shines forth.

 

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