“You Alone Are Our Father… why do You let us wander from Your ways?”
Just recently, I was reading Saint Augustine’s Confessions and was blown away at how he describes our reaction to evil… He says, rightly, that we would rather blame all evil on God than admit we could have had any part of committing evil.
When the #metoo campaign on social media was going strong, I was not surprised how many people had been affected by abuse or harassment in one form or another. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry, sex trafficking is at an all time high, and we are even willing to give our money to and support entertainment that exploits the vulnerable. We don’t feel so responsible if we aren’t actually doing the filming and exploitation and trafficking ourselves… and yet we blame some mysterious force out there, society, and even God for the evil we experience or witness.
How can God exist if there is evil in the world? How can a good and loving God allow for the existence of evil? Our first reading sums it up… He allows us to wander. He allows us freedom. Can love exist in the midst of hatred? Countless heroic stories in war and tragedy say yes!! In stories of mass shooting or natural disasters, heroes come forward and lay down their lives for others in the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate love. That love will always triumph over darkness and hatred.
If you were not free to do evil, you would also not be free to choose love. God allows us freedom to love Him or hate Him. He allows us to wander from Him. If He forced us into a relationship with Him, that would not truly be love and we would not be the gift He created us to be. He would not be Love itself.
Welcome to the first Sunday of Advent, in a season where darkness turns to light and God sends His angels to proclaim Jesus’ birth first to the outcasts— the rough around the edges guys— the shepherds. God’s love will not allow us to continue to live in darkness. Instead, as the ultimate act of love, He comes in the flesh as a baby, vulnerable and dependent and allows us the chance to care for Him. We blew it for sure! But God is our Perfect Father, who waits for us as we wait for Him in the Advent Season.