Luke 8: 41 – 56 – Jairus’ daughter is raised, a woman is healed
Luke 10: 16 – 21 – the Apostles cast out demons
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s two readings enable a contemplation of the huge problem, which is called theodicy. This word was coined in 1710 by the great European scientist and religious philosopher, Leibniz. This word, which he invented, means justification of God for why evil and suffering occur in the world. The first reading today, the Sunday reading, gives us the story of the woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years, and Jairus, the leader of the synagogue, whose daughter was dying. While Christ was on His way to heal the daughter, He was held up by the woman, and the daughter of Jairus died and was then raised by Jesus Christ. The second reading today was for St Michael the Archangel and the other Bodiless Powers in which we hear the apostles coming back joyfully from their missions, saying even the demons obeyed them, and Christ saying that He saw the fall of Satan from heaven.
The problem of theodicy, or rather the failure to understand the problem as much as is possible with the mind and the heart, causes people to fall away from God. They say, where is your God? It’s best formulated, as I’ve said on occasion in the past, by Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s great novel (The Brothers Karamazov) when Ivan says, I give back to God my ticket to heaven if it has to be bought even with one teardrop of an innocent child. Here’s the problem of theodicy stated in the most powerful way you could probably do it. The origin of evil, the origin of pain and suffering is precisely caused by the falling away from God who is all goodness. How can this happen, this falling away?
It happens because we’re given the tragic gift – this is how some of the philosophers of the 20th century call it – the tragic gift of free will which is given to the angels and to human beings. The first was Lucifer, the greatest of the angels. We celebrate the angels today, but he’s not celebrated of course, he fell away. How did this happen? He had thoughts something like this, I’m so great. Surely, I don’t need God. I am an independent god myself. And then he teaches humanity to think the same, that we don’t need God. And today the sentiment that we don’t need God is shared by millions and perhaps billions of people. This falling away causes all the evil and all the pain and suffering, and that includes the current problem of the pandemic. And everything that goes along with that pandemic. How humanity thinks or rather is taught by Lucifer to think, is that the ultimate evil is free will, the freedom to choose, and therefore it must be destroyed to make us happy. That all we need to be happy is bread and circuses – a purely materialistic life with entertainment, with a full stomach and we’re happy watching the box or anything else. That’s Lucifer’s recipe for human happiness.
But what is the real answer? Well, Jesus Christ said, know the truth and the truth will make you free. Jesus Christ, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Send St Michael and the Angels to protect us so that we too are not led into temptation.