THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
10 February 2019
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The evil among us is an imitation of the good. We readily reject whatever is clearly and outwardly evil. The devils succeed in leading us astray by presenting us with a false or fake good. We cannot swallow the bitterness of poison unless it is mixed with the sweetness of sugar or honey.
It seems that we too readily forget this when we observe evil in others. It is too easy for us to judge that those who have committed some crime are necessarily evil when, in truth, we know nothing of the person or the circumstances. Yes, evil is evil, sin is sin, but there is a big difference between self-defense, premeditated murder, or murder committed in the heat of passions. The evil done is the same but the culpability varies with the person and circumstances.
The fornicator and the adulterer have committed serious crimes. Undoubtedly, they were deceived into seeing the intimate sexual union as something good. It is good when it is in conformity with the Will of God. The rebellion against God's Will is the sin, and this makes this union evil. It looks similar to the marital act just as the tares look similar to the wheat. It is only when all the facts are revealed that we can clearly discern one from the other.
In a similar manner, we all recognize the inherent evil of abortions, but to the deceived mother, she perceives some good usually the avoidance of some future evil. She is led to believe that in the murder of her child, she will have more time to prepare for a family later on, or that she will avoid poverty, embarrassment, and shame. It is strange that the promoters of this evil often speak of choice when so many would be mothers feel pressured into this evil. Again, we see that there is some element of good that masks over or hides the evil.
Again and again, we observe the enemy (the devils) sowing tares among the wheat. They sow seed that appears similar but produces very different fruit. They observe the good that God has created and then they mimic this with a false imitation which is a sin. After the evil is sown and the poor soul becomes guilty of some sin or crime, then we observe clearly the fruits of the evil and condemn the evil. This is where we must learn caution and the patience of God. We can observe the evil, but we cannot observe the intentions or state of mind of others. From some of the greatest sinners have come some of the greatest saints. God has a way of turning the tares into wheat if we allow Him.
If we have been deceived into falling into some sin, let us not despair, but penitentially renew our contrition for the sins, as well as our love of God. He will turn our evil into a greater good if we begin to cooperate with Him. When we see others who have fallen, we must not be too harsh with them so as to destroy whatever good may remain in them. We should gently strive to lift them up so that they too may receive the mercy of God.
On the day of the harvest, all will be made clear. The false will be clearly discerned from the true. Only those who have obstinately held onto and remained their sins will be gathered into bundles to be burned. It is often their pride and vanity that causes them to try to "justify" their sins and thus remain in them. Those who have fallen due to deception or weakness, if they allow themselves to be humbled by this, will obtain mercy and forgiveness from God and will perhaps become even finer wheat than those who may have avoided this or that particular sin.
If we observe others who may have fallen, let us not despair, nor let us become harsh and demanding in some kind of self-righteousness. Rather, let us recall the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus. Christ instructed that the one without sin was to cast the first stone, and one by one they all left. In the end, He instructs the woman to go and sin no more. We are all sinners and in need of God's mercy. May we seek this for ourselves as well as for everyone else.
Finally, may we ever remain vigilant, watching out for the deceptions and snares of the enemy which he is always seeking to sow in us or in others around us. To avoid this deception is an even greater blessing of God for which we should constantly beg Him; and immensely be grateful for, if He has preserved us from these deceits.
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