This Homily is based on the following reading: Ez 33:7-9 Thus says the LORD: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, "O wicked one, you shall surely die, " and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.
Growing up, I rarely found a good explanation for why premarital sex was wrong beyond a few "Church slogans" like, "Sex belongs in marriage" and "If you love the person you will wait." While these statements are true, they needed deeper explanation, which often was met with blank stares. Then I encountered philosophy, scripture, and St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
In our Gospel this Sunday we hear that God does not always want to uproot the weeds (evil) in the midst of our community. Evil insinuates itself so that if it were to be uprooted, we would be uprooted along with it. Instead God turns the weeds in an opportunity for grace and sainthood. This is the genius of our God, who can turn something as ugly as a cross into something that becomes a symbol of love and forgiveness.
Understanding the origin of evil, and reconciling an all powerful, knowing, and loving God with a world that is burdened by malice has been a long-standing struggle for many. The Church has answers both philosophical, theological and mystical that can help us begin to understand where God's love and grace are to be found in the midst of our experience of evil.
We know that God's love is unconditional, but this doesn't imply he lacks standards. The standards, however are simple statements about the truth of that relationship. In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus teaches us what kind of disposition is unworthy of Him.
St. Thomas Aquinas was of the opinion that if a priest didn't know much about the angels, he was a bad priest. When I heard that, I decided that I needed to spend more time reflecting on this entirely unique community that God has created, and that we will one day join in the afterlife. Who are the angels, what can they do, and how do we keep ourselves safe from the demons who rejected God's love?