My devotional for today was titled "Evil", which immediately intrigued me because I have been thinking about the presence of evil and sin in the world a lot this week. This week's gospel contains Jesus' famous words, "Get thee behind me, Satan." That phrase has churned up different thoughts and emotions about Satan's work, presence and purpose in the world.
When people ask about sin or about the forces that oppose God, I admit that sometimes I am at a loss for how to explain this. In truth, the presence of evil and God's allowance of it in this world is another mystery of our faith (like the presence of God in the sacraments or the resurrection). Some people aren't very willing to embrace "it's a mystery" as a real answer to their questions, but in the life of faith- sometimes that's the only answer we have.
Theologian Frederick Buechner had this to say about evil: "Christianity... ultimately offers no theoretical solution [to the problem of evil] at all. It merely points to the cross and says that, practically speaking, there is no evil so dark and so obscene- not even this- but that God can turn it to good."