Seek good and not evil so that you may survive, and Yahweh, God Sabaoth, be with you as you claim he is. Hate evil, love good, let justice reign at the city gate: it may be that Yahweh, God Sabaoth, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph. I hate, I scorn your festivals, I take no pleasure in your solemn assemblies. When you bring me burnt offerings, your oblations, I do not accept them and I do not look at your communion sacrifices of fat cattle. Spare me the din of your chanting, let me hear none of your strumming on lyres, but let justice flow like water, and uprightness like a never-failing stream!
The Lord makes it very clear to us today in the text what it means to live a truly believing life! The Lord is reluctant if, on the one hand, we practice the rituals of our faith but, on the other hand, our inner disposition does not agree with them and we do not practice an active realization of the faith! Therefore, for those who follow the Lord, verification of the practice of faith always remains essential and an indicator of its authenticity! Here we should be self-critical in the right way, because the tendencies of our nature to seek our own advantage always try to prevail, and we need a persistent spiritual struggle to counteract this!
The Lord gives us the direction:
“Seek good and not evil. Hate evil, love good.”
If we want to realize the word of the Lord, it is not enough to do good only occasionally, but we are called to look for it and make it a fundamental attitude! This is reinforced by the word “love good”!
Love is a force of union! When we love a person, we want to live in unity with him or her and, if possible, eliminate everything that stands in the way of love! This is also – and even more strongly – the case in our relationship with God! Everything that can separate us from Him should be cleared away and everything that connects us more deeply with Him should be striven for!
God always puts the good to be realized before our eyes when we search for it! We know his commandments, his instructions to help the needy and to practice the physical and spiritual works of mercy, to practise justice, to pass on the Gospel…
We have been told all this, and we can also call upon the Holy Spirit for help, to remember all this and to recognize concretely in the given situation the will of God, how we can do good, because the truly good always comes from God!
When, with the grace of God, we acquire the basic attitude of “doing the good” and deepen it through constant practice, we unite ourselves more and more with the good, that is, with God who is goodness itself! Through this union, which already happens out of love, love grows and we do the good not only because we think it is right to do so, but because we love it and so the witness and presence of God becomes more visible in our lives!
It is part of this path to avoid and refuse evil in every form and to remain very vigilant! If we take biblical realism as a yardstick and are sincere with ourselves, then we realize that we have not simply always been inclined towards good! There are still many things living in our hearts that need purification! That is why it is also important to perceive and overcome the finer negative emotions that hinder the realization of love in us! For they stand in the way of the realization of the good! But if the heart is purified and virtue is practiced, then the doing of good becomes more and more a beloved matter of course for us, because the Spirit of God works more strongly in us and He always leads us to the good!
God loves to dwell in a soul that is oriented in this way, and such a soul truly lives! It is renewed and strengthened again and again by doing good and it loves to do good!