The massacre of innocents in Newtown Conn. has snuffed out young lives, broken the hearts of those they have left behind and shocked a whole nation into anguished cries of “Why? How could such things be happening with such unnerving regularity? Where and when will we ever be safe?” There are no easy answers but one thing certain is that evil is real and the evil spirits have scored again. Some people will say that this was bound to happen for there are people who are evil to the core.
There is inevitability and even predictability in our life and existence. The stars will keep on burning, the sun will keep on shining and the earth will keep on revolving around the sun. And in the predictable movement of the stars and the planets, we live our lives very much influenced by the seasons and the tides. We live out of the bounty of the earth and struggle with other creatures to stay alive, engaging in sex to ensure the continuation of our species. Greed, selfishness and pride seem necessary to ensure our survival.So, should we be surprised by all the violence and hate around us?
But there is more in man than just this inevitable predictability. He looks at nature hears the wind and other sounds and he starts singing the melodies that he hears. He looks at the colors in the trees, among the flowers, in the sky and at the movement of the sun and he paints the glory that he sees. He is overwhelmed by the beauty and order and apparent meaning around him and he invents words and language to express what and how he feels. He realizes he has a choice.
Self-preservation is the primary law of nature. But man has learned that he can choose. He can give up his own life for the sake of others he cares for. Nature has set natural boundaries so that fish swim, birds fly and four-legged beasts run. But man has learned how to do all three and more. He walks, yes; but he has learned how to swim, fly and go at great speeds.
Evil is real. It may sometimes be unpredictable but it is not inevitable. We can choose goodness over evil. But we need to learn the hard and painful lessons of love and forgiveness, of dialogue and confidence, of trust and hope, of believing and caring. Every act of kindness, no matter how small, will mean less ground for evil to grow elsewhere. Every act of forgiveness will mean another flame of anger and hatred snuffed out somewhere. Every act of humble service will mean another gust of pride and selfishness dissipated. I have the freedom to choose goodness over evil.
He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” Matthew 17:10-13