Friday, March 15, 2013

The Spirit of Evil

Friday: 15 March, 2013 –– Fourth Week in Lent
Wisdom 2:1a, 12–22 / John 7:1–2, 10, 25–30
The Spirit of Evil

There is a spirit of evil in our world that hates goodness. The wicked oppression of the righteous is a recurring story in Scripture from the beginning. Cain hated Abel and killed him. Joseph’s brothers’ resentment of his dreams from God turned to murderous intent. An evil spirit in Saul sought David’s death. Jeremiah was watched with the single intent of finding any excuse to bring accusations that could justify his death. Daniel’s enemies manipulated the king to pass a law they knew Daniel would not honor, then waited and watched until they could charge him before the king.

This is the spirit described in the first reading from Wisdom: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.... to us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us.... He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.... With revilement and torture let us put him to the test....

One thing that infuriated some people against Jesus was his goodness. Jesus’ life and teachings turned a spotlight on the pettiness and hypocrisy and selfishness of leaders who wore their so-called righteousness as an external veneer. Jesus had to be eliminated in order to remove his condemning presence.

The closer God’s people live in true goodness, the more they will irritate the spirit of evil that is so often imbedded in people who take pleasure in wickedness and hide behind a twisted “goodness.”  God speaks through the prophet Isaiah: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (5:20).

We are hearing today, increasingly, the very attitude described by the Wisdom writer. The secular mind –– and particularly the homosexual lobby –– hates the very existence of people who give witness to biblical sexual morality. It is clear they do not want to tolerate those they love to label as intolerant.

God give us grace to grow in true goodness. God give us grace to stay faithful regardless of the oppression that may come from the spirit of evil. It’s an ongoing story in the drama of salvation.

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