But this leaves with the great question. If God is love, why does evil exist? Why does God not simply stop us from doing evil, particularly those of us who are striving to be his followers?
The Catechism responds this way:
God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.
A part of God's plan is the process of becoming. From the first moment of life we are constantly becoming, changing from one moment to the next. God could have created us to simply be, but he did not. He could have made each of us perfect and complete from the get go, but he did not. For reasons that remain a mystery. We must become over time. Does God know how each of us will turn out in the end? Of course. But for our own good we have to go through the process. We must freely choose to love God and others. We must learn. We will make mistakes. At times our feelings will get the best of us, and we will sin.
The good news is that God can even "derive good from it", our sin. In the perfect goodness of God even our bad choices, and the bad choices of others can be transformed. There is no evil that God cannot use to some good end. We can sometimes forget that God has literally seen it all.
Before the first atom of the universe came into being God saw not only the role of John the Baptist but all that would come before and after. God saw every good and evil thing that we humans would do, and he created us anyway. And every day all over the world people begin the journey of becoming and others compete their earthly journey.
Today as we celebrate the Birth of John, we are reminded that are called to be him. We are not to be the center of attention, but to point others away from ourselves and toward Jesus. John was not only content to live in the shadow of his younger relative Jesus. But when ever anyone tried to put him in the spotlight, he would say "I am not ". And in the end he would die a horrible dead. In his life we see the great incomprehensible mysterious interplay of God's plan, human freedom, sin, and God's victory.
Today we are reminded that John's earthly journey began the same as each of ours, with the cry of the newborn baby. May we have the courage to follow in his footsteps for the rest of the journey.