The world roils in bad news and the story of immense tragedies. These painful realities are quite real. But the great danger we Christians face in 2016 is to focus our attention on this “bad news.”
In his final public utterance of 2015, Pope Francis on Thursday, December 31, insisted that the horrors of the past year are often “weighed down by private interests, by an insatiable thirst for power, and by gratuitous violence.” But Francis stressed that the reality of true goodness should not be lost in 2016. Indeed, I believe this true goodness should be stressed, certainly not in a pollyannaish way, but in a distinctly Christian way. Christ has overcome evil and his peace has changed the world. During these twelve days of Christmas let us remember that the evil of sin remains, but only for the time being. (Sin too will finally be put down completely on the “Last Day!”) This is why we should not entertain false notions about world peace.
Pope Francis added, “How many great gestures of goodness, of love and solidarity, filled the days of this year, even if they never became items for the nightly news!” In an ad-lib comment he added, “It’s a good thing not to make news.”
Here is my point as Pope Francis underscored it in his final 2015 homily: “These signs of love should not and must not be obscured by the power of evil. Good always prevails, even if in certain moments it can appear weaker or hidden.”
Do you believe that good prevails even if in certain moments it can appear weak or hidden? If you believe that mankind is so entirely sinful in every aspect of our human nature then I am guessing that you do not. But if you believe that sin, though pervasive, does not have the last word then it is more than likely that you do believe good prevails.
I have learned that if “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) then the presence of God in this world is always a reflection of his nature, thus a manifestation of his love. This is true even in the face of tragic evil. The signs of love should not be “obscured by the power of evil.” Amen.