by Cameron Daly
This reflection was taken from the Sunday Mass Readings of Feb. 22, 2015:
My deepest apologies to those who were, after reading the title, hoping to learn about the tactics of turbo-charged water gun fighting. Don’t get me wrong–I greatly appreciate and understand the necessity of squirt guns–but I do not discuss them here.
God changed water from being an instrument of destruction to one of goodness and healing. However, there are some who may have a hard time believing this.
What about those who have endured tsunamis, or hurricanes, or other massive flooding or water damage? Many have lost a great deal of property–and worse yet, loved ones–to water. The idea that water is used by God as a healing tool may be harder for them to accept. More than that, though, it may be hard for them to comprehend how God still cares for them while permitting such a tragedy.
Let’s look back at the Old Testament for a moment. We see the Great Flood, first of all–mentioned in today’s first and second readings–which was directly caused by God with the purpose of ridding the world of evil; the only righteous household before God in the world was that of Noah, so God allowed him and his family to be spared. Later on, we see God giving Moses the power to part the Red Sea, so that the Israelites could pass through unharmed; but when the Egyptians tried to follow them, they were crushed by the sea’s watery torrent–again caused by God, so that the Israelites could escape their brutal enslavement.
In both instances, we see a similar principle: water, wielded as a powerful weapon by God, was used as an instrument of destruction–from which God brought good for His people.
Those things, however, are different from the tragedies that I mentioned earlier. The Great Flood and the drowning of the Egyptians were specifically ordained by God, to thwart evil in one instance or another. While it is true that “[God] makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Mt 5:45), monstrosities like Hurricane Katrina are not necessarily willed by God. God does not provide us with complete protection from such things, because we willed to not be in complete communion with Him.
The allowance of evil into the world was the main ramification of Original Sin–“evil” being “that which is contrary to God’s will.” Did God ask for that? No; that would be illogical. The Supreme Being who exists beyond the confines of time is not going to change His mind over what His will should be. He told us from the very beginning what to do to be holy; did we do it?
No, we didn’t. You would think that refraining from eating from one particular tree would be a simple enough request; but for easily enticed mankind (represented by Adam and Eve), it apparently wasn’t. The happiness they had in the Garden of Eden just wasn’t enough for them; they wanted to be BIG–they wanted to be like gods themselves.
They should have been smart enough to trust God rather than the serpent. God created them, and the tree from which they ate, and even the serpent; yet, they thought that the serpent knew better, and did what he advised instead of what God had commanded. They were too prideful, and feared that God was “getting the better of them.”
Even though we personally didn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we can’t really blame Adam and Eve any more than ourselves. How many times have we done similar things, giving in to our petty pridefulness and desires? Even were we to have been created without Original Sin–like how Adam and Eve were–why do we think that we would have done any better?
There is one creature, however, who has every right to feel personally wronged by Adam and Eve and their sin. She is known as the New Eve–the second woman conceived immaculately, so as to counter with her perfect grace the epic fail of her predecessor–and a.k.a. Mary, the Mother of God.
Mary, never touched by the stain of sin, suffered right along with the rest of us. Specifically, she watched her son be mutilated and crucified before her very eyes. And keep in mind–she, unlike us, was a pure creature.
Did she turn her back on God at that time? Did she lose faith in Him, or become angry with Him? No; and it was God’s will for Jesus to suffer (“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” [Lk 22:42]), so that we might be saved.
Mary, instead of resenting God, continued on in her role as one of God’s people. Through her anguish, she managed to retain her faith in God’s plan.
When we suffer hardships, we should follow her example. At the time of the Passion and Crucifixion, I cannot say for certain how much Mary really knew of what was going to happen next. I think she had more of a clue than the rest of Jesus’s disciples–perhaps because of her unwavering faith in God–but I can’t imagine she knew for certain what would come to pass regarding Jesus’s Death. All I can say is that she remained faithful to God.
God does not bring evil to the world. Man does. God only allows it because He allows mankind to have free will, and often mankind’s will is that God’s will should not be done. In the case of the fall of Adam and Eve, for instance, mankind welcomed evil into the world, willingly separating man from God and God’s protection.
Returning to the topic of water–as I said, God turned around something that was once used as a fearsome weapon, to be something which is now known as an instrument of an awesome grace. The awesome grace I refer to is Baptism.
In Baptism, we are washed clean of all stain of sin; our slate is washed clean, and we are given a fresh start in life–and a chance to live life under the direction of the Father Almighty. We must take care, after having received this grace, to never throw it away or forget it by throwing our Baptismal water into a stream of sinfulness. What have we done with the water of our Baptism since we received it?
http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/approved_apparitions/lourdes/miracles1.html –I just wanted to share with you another example of healing waters: those at Lourdes, France, for which we (and those who have experienced healing from them) should be forever thankful to Mary, the New Eve. The miracles God has allowed her to give unto us are truly astounding. As for the topic of water–we see that God actually uses it as a weapon to this very day as He did in the Old Testament, whether through Baptism or the grotto at Lourdes: namely, as a weapon against evil, in the form of sickness–of both body and soul (the latter of which could pertain to sin as a whole in Baptism, or just doubt in particular at Lourdes).