Today's first reading from 1 Kings 21 is the story of an evil woman; perhaps the most evil woman in Scripture - Jezebel. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus talks about retribution, turning the other cheek and going above and beyond.
Jezebel was a study in wickedness. She forges letters, bears false witness and has a man killed, all over a small plot of land. God did not take kindly to this and, in the end, she would reap her just rewards.
Evil is a thing. It exists in the world, and in the hearts of men and women. Now and again we see it writ large, as in the case of Jezebel. But often, it seethes and grows, slowly and quietly. And it can happen to anyone, including you and me. We must always fight those tendencies toward evil. It sometimes gets to the point where we perceive evil as good, and good as evil. (See Isaiah 5:20) Let us constantly pray the Lord's Prayer, and ask God to deliver us from evil, especially the evil in our own hearts.
Father, you know our tendency to embrace evil. Deliver us from that today. Amen.
Today is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, perhaps one of the busiest of all the saints! Tony, Tony, turn around, something's lost and can't be found. St. Anthony, pray for us.