The Reality of Evil Intent

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Readings for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

All Saints for Today

“Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’  They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.”  Matthew 21:37-39

This passage from the Parable of the Tenants is shocking.  If it were to have happened in real life, the father who sent his son to the vineyard to collect the produce would have been shocked beyond belief at the fact that the evil tenants killed even his son.  Of course, had he known this would have happened, he would never have sent his son into this evil situation.

This passage, in part, reveals the difference between rational thinking and irrational thinking.  The father sent his son because he presumed that the tenants would be rational.  He presumed a basic respect would be offered, but instead came face to face with evil. 

Being confronted with extreme irrationality, which is grounded in evil, can be shocking, despairing, frightening and confusing.  But it’s important that we not fall into any of these.  Instead, we must strive to be prudent enough to discern evil when we encounter it.  Had the father in this story been more discerning of the evil he was dealing with, he would not have sent his son. 

So it is with us.  At times, we must be ready to name evil for what it is rather than attempt to confront it with rationality.  Evil is not rational.  It can not be reasoned with or negotiated with.  It simply must be opposed and opposed with much force.  That’s why Jesus concludes this parable saying, “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”  They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death”  (Matthew 21:40-41). 

Reflect, today, upon any situation in which you find yourself where you come face to face with evil.  Learn from this parable that there are many times in life where rationality wins out.  But there are some times when the powerful wrath of God is the only answer.  When evil is “pure” it must be confronted in a direct way with the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  Seek to discern between the two and don’t be afraid to name evil for what it is when it is present.

Lord, give me wisdom and discernment.  Help me to seek rational resolutions with those who are open.  Give me also the courage I need to be strong and forceful with Your grace when it is Your will.  I give my life to You, dear Lord, use me as You will.  Jesus, I trust in You.