11th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday

In today’s First Reading Paul gives the Corinthians a way to measure whether their love is genuine: by their concern for others. As Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel good people and evil people receive gifts from God so that they can live a good life: the sun warms them, the refreshes them, together they provide the conditions for the food we need, etc. God’s concern is not conditioned by whether someone is a saint or a sinner: he provides for them and gives them the means to be holy. Droughts, natural disasters, and other calamities don’t just target the good or just the wicked. God really doesn’t need to intervene in that way: a sinner’s punishment is largely self-inflicted, and if a sinner doesn’t use God’s blessings wisely, it’ll only get worse, even eternally worse.

When evil stares us in the face, not some nebulous force or Hollywood B movie caricature, but real evil done by real people and to real people, we must combat it for the sake of others, but we must not lose our concern for the people who are on that path to misery and failure by their misdeeds. That is the sign of genuine love, a perfect love, like our Heavenly Father’s love. It’s not a love conditioned by the love we expect in return or have received; otherwise we’d only care about those who care for us. That is the secret to overcoming the damage any lack of love on the part of others may have caused in our lives. Love can triumph if we let it. Society, a difficult family situation, an evil done to us can only conquer our love if we let it.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to strengthen our love by growing in our concern for others and praying for sinners to take up the path of life again.

Readings: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9; Psalm 146:2, 5–9a; Matthew 5:43–48.