Many of us went to bed on Thursday night or woke up Friday morning with a sense of disbelief. When I first heard the news, the thought that crossed my mind was… Oh no, not again! Why has such a tragedy befallen us again? For the many people I met that day including myself, there was a sense of sadness and gloom that enveloped us. Later in the morning the tragedy became more real to me when I heard that 3 people whom I know were on that flight MH17. I stood frozen for a while in total disbelief. Many thoughts ran through my mind and I am sure in yours too. What does one say to console someone who has lost a loved one in such tragic circumstances? No amount of words can bring back those lives.
As news that the plane was shot down became widespread, not only was there a sense of sadness, I am sure there was also a sense of anger – an anger that was probably justified. The anger could have been at those who shot the plane, at Malaysia Airlines for having chosen not to change its route…and maybe even God for allowing such cruelty to happen.
In one of my conversations that day, someone remarked… innocent people have died while the evil ones continue to live. Is this fair? It is surely not a time to talk about fairness but in this moment of anger most people have called for justice and even revenge. It would seem the most natural reaction. ‘Evil should not prevail’ is at the top of most people’s minds.
The gospel today talks about the weeds (darnel) and the wheat… the wheat and the weeds refer to the good and the evil that exists in the world. The natural reaction of the farmer who sees the weeds among the wheat is anger towards his enemy and wanting to uproot the weeds but yet in this parable Jesus says to let it grow together. In some ways it refers to the fact that God will be the final Judge between good and evil.
In the meantime what do we do? How do we fight evil? Scripture tell us, Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9). In a moment of such tragedy, it is hard to convince anyone of this especially those who have lost someone. It probably requires time to come to terms with this cruel reality and time for healing to take place.
Yet this week we were reminded so profoundly that fighting evil with evil means gets up nowhere. Many of us saw the video clip of the woman venting out her rage at an elderly man who accidentally knocked into her car. In a conversation later, this elderly man was quoted as saying that it is his Catholic faith that helped him remain calm and later to forgive. What a powerful example…… we need not look to the saints but here is an ordinary man with no honorific titles who truly understands what it means to be a follower of Christ.
If we fight evil with evil, anger with anger, insult with insult, impatience with impatience, what will ever be achieved? Nothing but just more evil, more anger, more insults, and more impatience. In short, we make our lives miserable.
Just like the weeds that exist among the wheat, bad people exist among good people… if we want to conquer evil, let us love one another just as Jesus taught us. We may not solve the problems of the world but we make life much more worth living: Don’t let their negativity and their hate get to you…positivity and love conquers all (amor vincit onmia).