We are created to do good.
The author of the 7 day creation account in the first chapter of the book of Genesis captured a universal truth by finishing each day’s account with the words: “And God saw that it was good.” What God creates is good. We are created with God’s openness to goodness and so we easily and naturally grasp what is good and we understand it. Goodness is the vital basic element in each of us and we naturally respond to goodness whenever we encounter it.
Evil on the other hand is the absence of goodness. When confronted by it we struggle to understand it. We stand dumbfounded in the face of the murder of the children in Cairns, the school children in Pakistan, the man and woman in the coffee shop, the school girls abducted in Nigeria, the murder of police officers sitting in their car in the US, infant lives ended because some syndrome or illness was detected pre-birth. We try to get our heads around these events and fail. At times we can see something of the logic that may be motivating them but it still does not make sense. We are angry with the army so we shall kill school children. I am upset by a police office killing someone so any police officer becomes a legitimate target.
Today our Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family but in other years on 28 December we would be celebrating the feast of the Holy Innocents. This is the feast that commemorates the infant boys in and around Bethlehem whom King Herod slaughtered in the hope that among the dead would be the infant the wise men from the East spoke of as a future king. Herod was so fearful of contenders to the throne that he murdered members of his own family to eliminate the threat. Those gripped by evil fear much and are condemned to rationalise in some way actions that cannot be rationalised. “I had to do it” are the words they often utter.
The simple truth is that they did not have to do it. They chose to do it. Like all of us they are free to do what they want. But, again like all of us, they are not free to choose the consequences. So Herod goes down in the annals of history as another powerful man who could have others killed at whim. But he is not remembered for goodness but for sacrificing others for his own purposes.
The one of whom he was afraid, the son of Mary, the child raised to maturity by Mary and her husband Joseph, was indeed a king but unlike any other. Here was the embodiment of the divine. In one person heaven and earth are united and they will never be separated. Mary and Joseph spoke often and long about this child who was entrusted to them. Like all of us as our parents hold us in their arms they wonder who this person is whom God has entrusted to their keeping. Unlike Jesus we are the fruit of the processes of human generation but like Jesus we have a connection with God that is distinctly ours and not the product of the mixing of genes.
In talking with couples preparing to move from the marriages of their parents to create their own marriage I remind them that in that family context they have been preparing for marriage from the day of their birth as they live within the marriage of their parents. From them their parents they take much they will use in creating their own marriage and family, but they will also tap into all that God has implanted in them. This is what each of us is.
Mary and Joseph like all the saints intercede constantly before God on our behalf. On this feast they have the best interests of our families at heart. They pray that we shall trust in God’s goodness as they did, ponder the wonder of the children given us and help them grow to maturity in faith and wisdom.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jan 9, 2015||Holy Family 28.12.2014||Listen||Download|