In today’s Mass readings, Joseph’s eleven brothers seek to kill him, even though he is his father’s favorite son. In the gospel, vineyard workers kill the landowner’s favorite son, reasoning that by so doing they will inherit the vineyard. But how can these workers be so irrational as to think that the landowner will reward them for killing his son? How do Joseph’s brothers imagine that killing Jacob’s favorite son will endear them to their father? How could they be so irrational?
The irrational is a sign of the demonic. Satan is a “liar from the beginning,” the father of lies, and he seeks to blind people to right reason. Irrational behavior leads to death, which is the end goal of the demonic. Widespread irrationality is a sure sign of the demonic.
Powerful institutions in our society speak and act irrationally, forcing unreason upon all of us. The law defines a female as a male but requires female-specific medical treatment for women who identify as men. Hospitals that perform abortions deny that what is in a mother’s womb is “a baby” but advertise their maternity services with billboards of pregnant women expecting “your baby.” Critical Race Theory demands an end to racism by judging people on the color of their skin.
The internal contradictions that abound in our powerful institutions are a sure sign of the demonic. He tries to terrorize us by irrational fears, and to bully us into submission, to impose unreasonable laws upon us just because he says so. But he is weak, and God is strong. Stand up to him with the strength, and the rationality, of God’s own Word. To resist the irrational requires courage, perseverance, and dependence on God’s grace. By God’s grace I’ve been praying in front of abortion facilities for 35 years, calmly (with some regrettable exceptions) speaking truth to power.
The martyrs we commemorate today provide a luminous witness of calm rationality. Against the full might of the Roman Empire, they stood on a frozen pond 1700 years ago simply witnessing that there is a God, since it is impossible that the universe created itself. We are not gods, but God loves us despite our puerile petulance. Keep calm, and speak rationally, with eyes fixed on the Logos and logical principle of all that exists, Jesus Christ, the Word of God.