Once Upon a Time…

Home > Living the Gospel > Once Upon a Time…
Once upon a time in a garden long ago, there lived a very happy family, a boy, a girl, and their loving father. The father provided everything his children could possibly want: a paradise of beauty, innocence, free from hunger, pain, fear, and yes, free from death. Though the boy and girl depended totally on their father, they wanted for nothing and their relationship with him was one of perfect love. That is until evil entered the garden and whispered a lie. If they did the one thing the father had asked them not to do, they would not die; they would be independent and free to judge good and evil for themselves. Well, the choice of Adam and Eve to disobey God was devastating; by that choice, they divorced the spiritual life from the physical and they died, expelling in the breath of their choice the very breath of God, and the weeds of evil began to grow. When we declare our independence from God, it will always result in evil, because apart from God, we draw only upon ourselves and this is death because we separate from God who is life. Just look at history after the fall of Adam; Cain killed his brother Abel, Joseph’s brothers left him for dead out of jealousy; John the Baptist was beheaded at the request of a woman scorned, the Holocaust, World War I & II, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently the Supreme Court’s decision that violent video games, no matter how horrific, including dismemberment and decapitation, could be sold to children. How far, we ask, how far, before God steps in to destroy evil and root out the weeds. And in today’s gospel, Jesus reveals to us that good and evil will grow together until the end of the age.

God could easily root sin/evil out of this world, but who would be condemned for all eternity? The prostitute who ran away from an abusive home; the alcoholic or drug addict who suffers from images of a war he never started, the twisted young man who shot and killed another gang member because the gang was the only family he knew; your son / my daughter?? Which one of our children would we be willing to condemn for all eternity for their errant ways? Wouldn’t we want that child to have the chance to feel sorrow, to ask God for forgiveness, to have every chance to spend eternity in heaven? Wouldn’t we love them so much that we would want to take their place? Do we really think God loves his children any less than you or I? God wants each of his children to have the chance to know him, to experience his love and forgiveness; that is why he has shown us that mercy triumphs over justice, and that is why Jesus took our place on the cross. And we who love him, are called upon to plant the good seeds of mercy. If you look deeply, you will see those who do his work (Prison Ministries, Doctors without Borders, Catholic Charities, Food for The Poor), and a multitude of good people connecting and working to bring his mercy to the world today. If your heart is heavy when you read the newspaper or watch the news on TV, then join those who plant the seeds of good and give of your time and treasure. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or your church; give up an evening out or buy a little less at the grocery store and send the money you save to those who have nothing to eat. Plant the seeds of compassion and love and watch them grow. Work towards nourishing those seeds of good until that day when Jesus returns. When that blessed day arrives, those who love him will truly live with him “Happily Ever After.”

Sylvia Bates