August 19th 2018
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deliver us from evil
“This may be a wicked age…but your lives should redeem it.” 2nd Reading). If St. Paul were to write in today’s world, he would have no doubt. The pall of Auschswitz, Rwanda, Syria, Northern Ireland, Myanmar, former Yugoslavia hangs over our times. The temptation however today, can be to stay with evil as “out there” and shrug our shoulders helplessly. We should remember that all that is necessary for the victory of evil is that good people do nothing. Home can be where the hurt is.
We’ve come a long way from the days of evil being seen as “out there” to something that is uncomfortably closer to home. Many remember the days when the final prayer of the Mass, said to St. Michael the Archangel, scorched itself into memory. The prayer is gone, today there is little or no reference made to the reality of evil and the Devil. True, at Baptism parents and godparents are asked to renounce Satan with all his “works and empty promises”, and the bishop receives the same promise from the children he confirms. But how many know what precisely these works and empty promises are?
The challenge is to recognise the evil that exists but seeing also that the power of God is greater. We pray at every Mass, “deliver us from evil” for that reason. Another danger is projecting evil and blame on the devil or human institutions for situations which are more a matter of human failure.
At every Mass, the prayer “This is my Body” is said… in a strange, secular way we make the same statement in terms of personal choice. My body- my choice in a hundred different ways. But the difference is that the Eucharistic food of Jesus is always for others- never for self. It’s about giving life to all who come.
The eating places and causes of this world will leave us feeling empty. Maybe it will give you a momentary feeling of togetherness, but it can’t provide you with a good job, or a loving partner, or security. All it does is provide you with an enemy to hate, and then another one and another one and to believe that there is always someone or something holding you back.. when it’s actually an oppression of your own making. The invitation is there- not a command to come and eat and make a difference by the kind of lives we live for others.