Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time—2nd September 2018
I read a terrific book the other day entitled ‘Shadows and the Dark’. It is by Australian Jesuit Fr John Cowburn who is Professor of Philosophy at Jesuit Theological College, Melbourne. This book explores how we can hold to a loving God in the face of evil. The idea for the book came when Fr John fell from his bicycle, broke his collarbone and was awaiting surgery in hospital. While there, an old religious sister came to his room to give him Holy Communion before going to the operating theatre. Fr John told her about the accident. Sister said, ‘Well Father, God must have known you needed a little holiday, so he arranged for your fall’. John replied, ‘If that's true Sister I'm pleased God didn't want me to take a sabbatical!’ From Jesus' day to ours, when bad things happen to good people it seems easier to blame God or Satan. By his own admission Fr John had an accident because he didn't take enough care on his bike. End of story. That God can bring something good out of such an accident is grace building on nature. What Jesus confronts in today's Gospel is ‘The-devil-made-me-do-it’ theology. And his response is as challenging now as it was in first century Palestine.