We ponder the priority and urgency between avoiding evil and doing good.
We wonder whether Jesus went about either or both of these tasks primarily by establishing the church or sending out missionaries to preach.
And we link these issues together by asking ourselves whether Jesus came among us to call us all to holiness or to save us from our sins. Of course, in all of these conundrums, we know there’s a connection between these apparent differences. Isn’t it better to make it a matter of “both-and” rather than “either-or”? Certainly so, but at times we can’t do both at the same time; rather, we have to work in sequence: first one, then the other. So we have to make a choice: which is first, which is second. For instance, the call to holiness/the command to avoid sin. The Second Vatican Council made it quite clear that all of us, not just some of us, are called to be holy. But when we read the gospels, it is striking to note how often Jesus said His focus in coming into the world was to save what was lost–the wayward sheep. Do we not have here a version of doing good and avoiding evil? Which plays the greater role in our mindset: to gain heaven or to avoid hell? And when we pray an act of contrition do we focus primarily on God Who is all good and worthy of all love, or do we think of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell? Do we first of all tend to back away from what can hurt us or do we incline to grasp what appeals to us, as our priority?