" ITREALMS: Don't institutionalize wickedness, Fr. Ebido urges - ITREALMS

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Don't institutionalize wickedness, Fr. Ebido urges - ITREALMS

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 6/20) 
Your Daily BlessingMay the Lord keep you far from all wickedness and surround you with his goodness. Amen.

Narration: I saw video clips of people caught in the act of committing wicked acts – one, for eating another’s shit (understood as a ‘ritual act’ for money making), one for collecting female underwears (also for money making). 

In each case, there was mob justice - wickedness was used to correct wickedness. How do we stop this culture of evil? First, we need to understand it.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) remains one of the greatest intellects in the fields of psychology/psychiatry. His views on human behavior continue to generate insight albeit lots of controversy globally. For him human evil or wickedness is widespread and commonplace. 

Speaking of our attitude to our ‘neighbor’ he says: “Not merely is this stranger on the whole not worthy of love, but, to be honest, I must confess, he has more claim to my hostility, even to my hatred. He does not seem to have the least trace of love for me, does not show me the slightest consideration. If it will do him any good, he has no hesitation in injuring me, never even asking himself whether the amount of advantage he gains by it bears any proportion to the amount of wrong done to me. 

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"What is more, he does not even need t get an advantage from it; if he can merely get a little pleasure out of it, he thinks nothing of jeering at me, insulting me, slandering me, showing his power over me; and the more secure he feels himself, or the more helpless I am, with so much more certainty can I expect this behavior from him towards me.” 

He concludes that this mindset when recycled becomes the seedbed of human evil because at some point in our development, we decide to give up any expectation of goodwill from people as we “realize how much hardship and sufferings we have been caused in life through their ill-will.” 

My Daily Bread is here to confront honest ideas like this, as mirrors of our reality, with the truth of the Gospel.

Human wickedness is real. It is all around us. It does not matter where you live or where you go, it is there to confront us. We are impacted by it, and it changes us in ways more than one. But the worst of human wickedness is when evil is institutionalized. It is easier to destroy a wicked man/woman than an evil institution. 
This is why we must do everything not to allow it anywhere. 

The same Freud says, “the fateful question for humans...is to what extent the cultural process developed in it will succeed in mastering the derangement of communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self-destruction.” 

In other words, he implies that we must either evolve a more altruistic attitude towards one another; evolve more just and humane institutions, or we must definitely self-destruct. This is the primary role of religion. Though Freud sees religion as a “collective neurosis,” but he fails to see it as the answer – the institutionalization of goodwill and altruism. In today readings (Ezek 33:7-9) God asks the prophet to bring to light to the wicked, his wickedness to make him repent of them or else if he dies in his guilt, God will hold the prophet responsible. 

The second reading (Rom 13:8-10) St Paul tells us to owe nothing to anyone except the debt of love. And in the Gospel (Matt 18:15-20) Jesus reminds us of the need to reconcile with our brother/sister. These are ways religion provide answers to human evil and wickedness. It warns us that we must resist the pull towards indifference, or open wickedness, because the end is self-destruction. We need to be prayerful if we must live a life of unconditional love – or altruism beyond kin and reciprocation. Jesus died precisely for this power to be available to us. Pray for courage to do the right thing at all times!

PRAYER: Lord, it is so easy to be overcome by the wickedness around me. As we say, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Please help me never to assist in building a culture of evil. Grant me instead the grace to do good always. Amen.

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