Summary: "Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good"
Monday of 1st week of Easter
The various accounts of the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus, one of which appears here in Matthew, have one thing in common–surprise. The Jesus movement was so powerful, so filled with works of power and words of power, that his disciples could believe only that he was about to establish the promised messianic kingdom on earth. They continued asking him about that even as he was ascending into heaven. It’s like they said, “C’mon, Lord, when are you going to start killing Romans and these bad local politicians?”
But this earth is not the venue for the kingdom of good. It will, as Benedict wrote in the encyclical on hope, never be definitively established in this world. Hearken back to Jesus’s time in the desert. Anyone who promises a better world guaranteed to last forever is a liar; he is Satan. Making such a promise ignores human freedom. In every age, Benedict says, freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. If there were a structure that could guarantee a good state of the world, man’s freedom would disappear under the weight of the structure, and so goodness would vanish as well.
We all see that in the years since the Pope’s letter, there has arisen a culture like that, a culture that has redefined good as evil, and evil as good, and through social media cancelling, pressure on corporations and churches, and constant lying, has done just that. If that doesn't work, they resort to bribes, like the corrupt politicians covering up the resurrection of Jesus. Man’s freedom to do what is truly good, speaking truth, sharing the Gospel, raising godly families, is disappearing under the massive weight of “woke” structures. Those who facilitate it have fallen victim to the attractions of sinful pleasures, wealth, honor and power. And goodness–true goodness–is beginning to disappear from the public square.
The Holy Father told us there is no easy way–every new generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs. It’s much like sweeping a dirt floor; the job is never done. Each generation contributes to establishing convincing structures of freedom and of goodness, and if they raise up the succeeding generation with rightly-formed consciences, they provide the only possible guarantee for a good future. Man cannot be redeemed from outside, through science or politics. If the inside of man is good and moral, then science and politics can move us forward. But if our inside is corrupt, science and politics can destroy mankind.
Science cannot redeem mankind; man can only be redeemed by love. Remember your moments of pure, ecstatic love; that is a moment of a kind of redemption that brings new meaning to life. But mere human love, unredeemed, is destroyed by death, whatever the romantics say to the contrary. The need in my life and yours is clearly for unconditional and undying love, a love that cannot be separated from us. That is why we can say that Jesus has redeemed us by his passion, death and resurrection. He has brought the unconditional love of the Father to us forever. Risen from the dead, He has unlimited power to grant that love to every human until the end of the world.