25th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year B

Somewhere, in an underground lair, a secret hideout, or a den of iniquity, we find a criminal mastermind, or a mad scientist, scheming a nefarious plot. “Mah-ha-ha-ha,” the villain manically laughs. “Once I unleash my evil plan, evil will conquer the world.”

This is the way of villains as we often find them in comic books. Comic book bad guys love doing evil for evil’s sake. But we should realize that this isn’t why people do bad things in our world. In the real world, nobody does evil for evils sake. Every single person acts to achieve some real or perceived good. Sinners simply go about the pursuit of happiness in wrong ways. Bad people are not bad because they’re trying to do bad things. Unrepentant sinners actually feel justified in what they do.

For instance, in Jesus’ day, influential people said, “That Jesus from Nazareth so obnoxious. Let’s have him condemned and see how he holds up then.  If he’s really holier-than-thou, a son of God, then God will come to his rescue—otherwise he gets what he deserves.” People still rationalize like this today. It’s easy to come up all sorts of reasons for doing bad things rather than what is right:

“Lying? What I said isn’t technically untrue. Besides, it’s only a little white lie.”

“Angry? Is it any wonder that I get so angry when I have to deal with stuff this.”

“Stealing? The way I see it, they make plenty of money, and I deserve more than what they pay me.”

Activities outside of marriage?  “What’s the big deal? It’s all consensual, and nobody’s getting hurt. Besides, we love each other.”

It’s not only “bad people” who say things like this. Each of us fall into embracing lies like these sometimes. But what is the antidote for rationalizing aside our sins? The cure for this is a prayer life with Jesus Christ.

When the apostles came face to face with Jesus inside the house, Jesus began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent, for they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Coming into Jesus’ presence, who is the embodiment of Truth, the reality of what they had been doing  became clear for them. Their false illusions completely faded away, like the smoke from a blown out candle.

We should spend time in conversational prayer with Jesus Christ every day, allowing Him to form us, build us up, and console us. When you receive the encouragement, confidence, and consolation which Christ is eager to give you in prayer, when He acknowledges you as His own brother or sister, as His good friend, as a favored child of His Father, fears dissolve and you live in peace—a peace in which cleverly-devised excuses are no longer sought for and no longer necessary.

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