Despite contradictions, just do a lot of good

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S what we can gather from the readings of the Mass on Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter. (Acts 8,1-8; Jn 6,35-40) Whatever negative things we can encounter along the way, the good, which is a matter of believing in Christ, if not, identifying ourselves with him, will always prevail, if not soon, then in the end.

It’s amazing to note that, as narrated in the first reading, the still-unconverted Paul was one of the fiercest persecutors of the early Christians. And yet, later on, he became a most intense apostle.

Miracles indeed can happen. Extraordinary change of heart can take place. We have to be careful not to make some rash judgments, or if that cannot be avoided as a spontaneous reaction, we should also be quick to rectify ourselves. We should just focus on doing a lot of good even if we are misunderstood or misjudged.

Yes, we just have to learn how, with Christ, we can overcome and drown evil with an abundance of good. This is a very intriguing part of our Christian faith. Not only should we love our enemies, as Christ taught us, but we also need to drown evil with an abundance of good. This was specifically articulated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans where he said:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Rom 12,17-20)

We have to try our best to erase whatever disbelief, doubt or skepticism we can have as we consider this teaching, since most likely, our first and spontaneous reaction to it would precisely be those conditions. We can ask, even if done only interiorly, “Is Christ really serious about this? Can this thing that Christ and St. Paul are telling us, possible, let alone, doable?”

When these reactions come to us, it is time to remind ourselves that we just have to follow our faith that definitely contains a lot of mysteries and things supernatural that we are not expected to understand fully. Like Our Lady and all the saints, we should just believe and do what we are told because it is Christ who said so, and because it is the Church that teaches us so.

That’s what faith is all about. By believing first, then we can start to understand things that are hard to explain or articulate in human terms. As they say, that’s how the ball bounces. We should not waste time trying to understand everything at once or at the beginning. Let’s be game enough to go through some kind of adventure that, no matter how the outcome would be, we know that God is in control of everything.

In the meantime, guided by our faith, let’s begin to develop the appropriate attitudes, practices, habits and virtues. We have to learn the intricacies of charity, like being patient, magnanimous, compassionate and understanding, merciful, always friendly with everyone even if not everyone is friendly with us. We should be willing to suffer for the others and to bear their burdens.