We oftentimes hear the complaint, “The Lord’s way is not fair.” Maybe in not so many words, but with the same objection we often ask the simple question: “WHY?” A loved one has a sudden heart attack, a teenager is killed in an auto accident, and a close companion can’t find a job. These are but a few of the occasions that find us searching for God’s answer. Just listen to the spontaneous outcry at the moment of an accident or tragedy for the bystanders’ expletive; “Oh my God!” It’s almost as if their first reaction was; “why did God program this catastrophe?” He didn’t.
The simple explanation is that these are purely the shortcomings of human nature and/or the mistakes people made with the freedom God allows them to exercise. God hardly ever nullifies the laws of nature to make up for these inadequacies of nature or failures in using human freedom correctly.
However, in the moral order our reading from Ezekiel wants us to know that God’s judgment of us is an instantaneous, on-going activity. God doesn’t keep a balance sheet of our good deeds and evil actions like your friendly bank keeps a record of debits and credits. We often times reason that as long as we keep the good deeds (credits) ahead of the evil deeds (debits) we ought to be God’s special chosen ones for eternal glory. This is the human way of reasoning which people believe would be more fair. It might be true in the human way of justice but it’s far from God’s plan of mercy. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? “says the Lord God.” Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?
Simply put, God’s way says that if a person rejects his life of evil and he turns back to the Lord that person will live. And if the virtuous man turns from his way of virtuous deeds and accepts the way of evil he will surely die. This is why the Lenten Season is so important in the plans of God. It should convince us of what a tremendous grace he provides for us by asking us to participate in the Lenten observance. Lent is the season of God’s mercy. It’s God’s way and the fairest way to welcome back any of us who have allowed our lives to stray from him in careless ways or by unfortunate tragic turns.
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