Our Free Will … 25-Feb-2018
From the Desk of Father David
Dear Friends in Christ,
In last Sunday’s homily I referenced the concentration camps of World War II. After Mass I was asked why God allowed it to happen and why He didn’t take away the Germans’ free will.
What would happen if God took away free will? Yes there would be less pain because everybody would always do what is right. The greatest loss would be our inability to love. We would be like robots, for love to exist choice must also exist. For God to take away free will from a particular group of people causes the problem of where does He stop. Would he take away Americans’ free will because of the way we pay farmers not to grow food, and many die of hunger each day? The challenge for us is to allow our wills to be guided by Jesus’ will so our choices become life giving.
In a presentation by Rabbi Kushner, he mentioned that after World War II the Jewish people had to wrestle with questions that arose from the concentration camps. Were they not His chosen people anymore, is God not all powerful, where was God? Rabbi Kushner and other rabbis’ conclusion was that God was suffering with them in the concentration camps. As Catholics we would agree. When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, He said “why are you persecuting me?” Paul responds “Who are you?” and Jesus responds “I am Jesus of Nazareth, the one you are persecuting.” There is no separation between Jesus’ followers and Jesus.
God doesn’t only suffer with His people, but is actively fighting against the evil. During World War II, we see people using their free will to save lives by setting up underground stations, Church officials used their power to aid the suffering, there are numerous stories of people in the concentration camps trying to take care of each other to the point of giving away their only ration of food and of course let us not forget all the soldiers fighting. God is never inactive. All through history, we see God actively working in the world directly and through others. This is what gives us hope for a better tomorrow and at the same time challenges us to cooperate with Jesus in building His Kingdom.
May God guide our free will so our choices may be life giving for others and ourselves!
In Lenten hope,