Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The perfect balance

Today's gospel from Saint Matthew continues to prepare us for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. At the same time it addresses one of the great struggles of the Christian faith, the interaction between God knowing the future, there being a divine plan, and free will.

Throughout history we have seen people erroneously set it up as an either/or situation. The gospel today reminds us that we hold all three propositions to be true. God knows the future. There is a divine plan. And human beings have and exercise free will, often making choices that go contrary to God's will. We call it sin.

God knowing what choices I am going to make does not make them any less free. What it does allow is that he has already created the plan in such a way that it can take into account all of the choices that all of us will make.

In the words of today's gospel,

The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.

The first line reminds us of the plan. The second reminds us that the choice of Judas to betray Jesus was not the will of God, but sin for which Judas will be held accountable.

It is ridiculous to say when someone is murdered, "It must have been God's will" God never wills sin. God can; however, transform the sin. Just as he transformed the betrayal and murder of his only-begotten son into a source of eternal life.

What we call the past, the present, and the future is part of a single known reality to God, and his plan for humanity has already accounted for every variable. It only makes sense therefore that each day we wake up with one simple petition. Thy will be done.