1. There are obstacles lying between God and us. These comprise what we can call, in a lump sum, “Sin, Darkness, and Death”. God created all things. Human beings are created in God’s own image. God found his creation to be “very good” (Gen 1/31).
2. The human person is image of God. This has been distorted as a result of sin. But this has never been deleted.
3. We are called to improve levels the conditions of human life. We are to work for the happiness of persons, promote justice and peace, foster a love that is inclusive of all. This is how we are as image of God.
4. But we can see the human condition of wretchedness. There is evil and suffering which are a universal experience. All humanity experiences evil and suffering. Our faith demands that we make a coherent and honest assessment of the human condition.
5. Our faith assesses that evil appears as being always present. Evil has always been with us and it precedes our responsibilities. It looks as if there are “powers” present before we do anything. These powers of evil show to be external to any of our personal awareness, choice and action.
6. But we also experience evil and suffering that have their source in our human heart. We humans are also responsible. We have our selfish reflexes. We have cravings for inordinate pleasure and power. In many ways we participate in evil. In mass we pray, “that I have sinned in what I have done and in what I have failed to do”. Often we participate in evil by intentionally failing to do good.
7. We human beings are alienated from God because of sin. Yes we are creatures and not the Creator. God moves in love towards us, sinful humans, and this is presupposed in our belief in salvation.
8. We experience break up of relationships, inadequacies and frustrations in our lives. We cannot deny how we also are responsible. Still we must note as objectively as possible those aspects of our lives that destroy us and we are not directly responsible for them. Those aspects are beyond our control and the also speak of our need for salvation. Just think of the natural catastrophes, illness, physical and mental suffering. These tell us that evil is about what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for.
9. Traditional teaching says that death itself, and all the “bad things” around us, has been understood as a result of sin, “the mystery of iniquity”. (see 2 Thes 2/7).
10. In a more personal level we can talk of difficulties in balancing our own personalities. At time each of us can be…well….an “a.h.” We have difficulties in living well and harmoniously with others. We know of the presence of violence around us and perhaps seeds of violence are sprouting within us.
11. And then we need to recognize how we have been harming and destroying our environment. Some scientists say that we are in a point of really falling apart ecologically.
12. We can understand why there are people who are skeptical about life and they think that, really, life is absurd and without sense.
13. Picture the Apostles with their very deep anguishes in life. Then they see Jesus alive again! Imagine how that presence of Christ would resolve all the questions of sin and evil.