Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, Flannery O’Connor tells a story of a family that has to deal with ultimate evil. After having a car accident, the family waits for help. Three men with guns come out. The grandmother says that she recognizes the leader, the man in glasses, as The Misfit, an escaped murderer. The Misfit confirms this, saying it would have been better for them all if the grandmother had not recognized him. The Misfit has his two men take the father and his boy into the woods to kill them.  They return to take the children’s mother, the baby, and the little girl for the same purpose. The grandmother begins pleading for her own life. Her last words to the Misfit were, “Why, you are one of my babies. You are one of my own children!” But these words did not save her as the Misfit kills her with three shots.

In the Gospel reading today, Jesus says, “Offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Perhaps the way the grandmother deals with the Misfit could be an example for us on how to respond to evil.  However, Jesus offers a different way to resist evil by being more loving and generous, even to those who trespass against us. In his dialogue with the grandmother, the Misfit says, “Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead and he shouldn’t have done it. He threw everything off balance.” Indeed, Jesus did throw everything off balance by offering a different strategy to combat evil, that is love.

June 13th, 2016