Monday, October 15, 2007
Monday in the 28th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
The Evil of Apathy
Readings: Romans 1:1-7; Psalm 98:1bcde, 2-3ab, 3cd-4; Luke 11:29-32
This generation is an evil generation…
In the gospel, Jesus addresses his listeners with these very strong words at a time when more people gathered in the crowd. We may wonder at the reactions he might have evoked. You are evil! Me? Evil? How? Why? Why, indeed! Were they murderers or terrorists? Were they fornicators or paedophiles? Perhaps there were some among them who were guilty of these things. And yet, when we consider Jesus words more carefully, we see that he considers his generation evil not so much because of what it is doing as much as for what it fails to do. In contrast to the queen of the south who came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, in contrast to the people of Nineveh, who repented when they heard the preaching of Jonah, Jesus’ generation does nothing, it fails to respond. Instead, it seeks a sign.
It fails to appreciate what Paul appreciates in the first reading. Here, we see Paul expressing his deep conviction on two crucial points: his own identity and the identity of Jesus. Paul sees himself as the slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. And this Jesus Christ, this master whom he serves, is nothing less than the Son of God. It is out of this sense of who he is in relation to Christ that conditions everything that Paul says and does, including the writing of the letter to the Romans. Paul’s life is a response to the one who called him.
Isn’t this what’s so singularly striking about Jesus’ accusation: that it contrasts so starkly with what we might traditionally think of as evil? For Jesus, evil seems to consist less in doing bad things than it does in failing to appreciate who we are in the sight of God, and consequently failing to respond to the call of God, the call to be members, labourers, even slaves in God’s vineyard.
And what of us? What of our generation? In a world plagued by the evils of poverty and war and environmental degradation, what kind of response are we being called to make?
If today Jesus were to cast his eyes on us, on our generation, what verdict would he pass?
Posted by Fr Chris at 3:48 pm