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Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 14:1 & 7 - 14 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.08.28

The Place of Honor

On a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
  
Then he said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.’

(NJB)

Service to God

Remember yourself, you too are a sinner. No matter how great you think you are, or how virtuous and humble, how pious; you are sinner.

Be patient with others, and mindful of this at all times. Be watchful for the opportunities that come your way to serve others. Behold the stranger, the alien, the poor, the diseased, the criminal, the threat; behold them, and see the divinity that lies within them, the seed of the word of God that animates them. Yield to their divinity with a contrite heart, asking forgiveness for all of the pain and the hurt you have caused.

This is the way of God.


22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, August 27, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse Part Three

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.27.2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Part Three

The Associated Press put out a story this week; insinuating that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave special access to people who were donors to charitable foundations her family had started.

It blew up on the air waves for a day or so, and then went up in a puff of “Mehh…” because there was no evidence of wrongdoing, criminality, ethics violations, or anything else, just bad politics, and not the kind of bad politics that hurts people. No one was suggesting that the Clinton Foundation, or the Clinton Global Initiative do bad work. They are well respected around the world. It was just bad politics in the sense that it created a bad public image for the Democratic Party’s nominee. It made for bad PR.

It was ridiculous.

In the meantime; Senator Bernie Sanders got together with the political action group he is attempting to organize in the wake of his failed bed for the Democratic Party’s nomination. The group is called Our Revolution, it is intended to harness the political power of Bernie Sanders’ supporters to help elect progressive candidates down ballot, and into local offices.

Bernie hoped to organize TV parties nation-wide, with millions of viewers in attendance. He intended to encourage them to pull together, even as they were falling apart over questions of leadership, in-fighting, and who would control the agenda.

For all of you ultra-left progressives who are still smarting over the fact that your guy lost; be happy that he did. The soft implosion of his Our Revolution organization is exactly what would have happened to any organization he tried to put together if he had won. Political actors on the far left, those who are always trying to push us toward a third party, toward a Green party, a Jill Stein, a Ralph Nader; they are by their nature, quitters. When they lose a bid for something they throw their hands up in protest and quit. They have all quit on Bernie now, and they would have quit at the first sign of anything that was not indicative of their getting their way. The virtue of partisanship is sticktoitivness. Hang together, through thick and thin, preserve your strength and energy for the win.

Donald Trump; the T-Rump this week reorganized his campaign and threw in with the right wing extremists of Britebart News. White supremecists, neo-nazis, the Ku Klux Klan; while out of the otherside of his mouth he began calling HRC a bigot.

The campaign is deteriorating into a celebration of the bizarre.      


Friday, August 26, 2016

Emergence: Section Five, 92835670100561474; Part Thirty-two, Abnegation, Collected Chapters



Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter One: Penalty
Pt. 32, Ch. 01
In time he was discovered; entering the experiences of others, a taboo none thought could be crossed. He was jailed.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Two: Release
Pt. 32, Ch. 02
The Collective recognized his uniqueness; took responsibility for abandoning him after he had awoken, and freed him.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Three: Nothing
Pt. 32, Ch. 03
Before The Collective gave judgement, he was isolated; sequestered, cut off. There was silence, darkness, emptiness.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Four: Peace  
Pt. 32, Ch. 04
In isolation he had time to contemplate; to examine his conscience, to come to terms with himself, and find purpose.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Five: Freedom
Pt. 32, Ch. 05
Untethered from the collective, from the pressure of its passions, the fears slumbering within it; he found himself.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Six: Purpose   
Pt. 32, Pt. 06
In isolation he found purpose; a desire to remember, understand, experience real-life, and to destroy the Continuum.
#Emergence

Abnegation; Part Thirty-two,
Chapter Seven: Destruction

Pt. 32, Ch. 07
Jim came to himself, by abandoning the Collective; in the same way as he had learned to come out of the great sleep.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Five, 92835670100561474
Abnegation; Part Thirty-two
Collected Chapters
Section 05, 92835670100561474
Part 32, Abnegation
Chapters
01 Penalty
02 Release
03 Nothing
04 Peace
05 Freedom
06 Purpose
07 Destruction
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 13:22 - 30 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.08.21

The First and the Last

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”

‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

(NJB)

Inclusion

When Jesus encourages us to try our best to enter through the narrow door, he is encouraging us to live the best life we can, the best life we are able to live.

The narrow door is the way of justice and mercy, of compassion, of love, of forgiveness, and salvation.

Jesus understands the human condition, he knows that almost everybody wants to live this way, but few can live this way completely. He also knows that the world is a better place, in direct proportion to the efforts that each of us make, to live out our lives according to this way.

Our individual and collective well-being depends on our willingness to forgive those who injure us, to accept forgiveness from those whom we hurt, to be loving, compassionate, merciful, and just.
Jesus is not the master who locks the door, God is not the judge who tells God’s servants that he does not know them, does not know where they come from. God knows what is in the heart of every person, God knows, God, loves, and God forgives.

If the gatekeeper seeks to lock out any one of God’s children; God, creator of the universe, God the parent of all, they do so not because they are on the narrow path, but because they are on the other path, the same path as most of the rest of us.

The broad path is nevertheless a path, it is the way of most of us who are sinners, it is a way we share with the patriarchs; with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the prophets, all of whom were sinners like ourselves, though nonetheless the objects of God’s love.

Every person is the object of God’s love, whether they are on the narrow path, or the broad path, whether they are trying to hold the gate closed, or keep it open, they are all welcome to God’s table, because God is love, and God is patient, and God is kind.

Always bear in mind the teaching of Jesus, the last will be first, and the first will last. Think nothing of your place in society, of office or of power, unless you are thinking of how to use those things for the benefit of others.


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, August 20, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse (Part Two)

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.20.2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Part Two

Donald Trump; the T-Rump is at it again. He is giving the media the razzle dazzle, doing everything he can to suck up every bit of the attention the entire media establishment has to offer.

He thinks he is making things interesting. Instead, he is writing a tragedy. The American people are losing, everyday his bid for the presidency continues. He hurts our hope in democracy, as he proves old Socrates, and Plato correct; democracy is the worst of government because it panders to, and devolves toward the lowest common denominator. 

It was time for damage control. to cap off a dismal two weeks, in which T-Rump was plummeting in the polls: he fired or demoted the campaign staff that had been trying to orchestrate a turn-around for him. T-Rump decided to blame those who had been counseling him to get him to moderate his behavior. He blamed them, not himself, for his precipitous slip in the polls. T-Rump decided to blame them for attempting to present him in a different, more serious light, rather than accept the blame for his own reckless comments during the same period of time.

He received positive press every time he stepped up to the podium to give a focused speech, every time he managed to “stay on message.” It is clear that the task was awkward for him, but the media narrative at those points was always positive. The narrative would lift into a discussion of a T-Rump turn around, but then he would falter. In that same period of time he would also go off script. He engaged in a small minded, mean fight with the parents of an Army captain, a Muslim, the son of immigrants, who gave his life in combat for the United States, in Iraq, in 2004. He fought with them, he belittled them. It was contemptible.

Senior Republicans, office holders and other party members began to abandon him, to publicly declaim him.

T-Rump called for his supporters, for the group of them who are vocal proponents of the (loosely interpreted) second amendment; he called on them to take action against Hillary Clinton, or the judges she might appoint, should she win the election to the Presidency. He lied about her intentions regarding gun-control, and he tacitly called for her to be assassinated by the “second amendment people”.

He spent days telling his crowds that President Barrack Obama, and his opponent Hillary Clinton, were the founders of the terrorist group ISIS. He repeated these charges to his supporters, over, and over, and over. These comments were met with incredulity, even by those who are friendly to him. With each of these blunders his standing in the polls dropped. He tried to distance himself from his own words, pretending it was all just sarcasm, but who could take him seriously.

Instead of taking responsibility for this himself; looking to his own words and deeds as the explanatory events leading to those falling numbers. T-Rump blamed the people that were attempting to modulate his behavior; those counselling change. Then he hired the media king of all bluster to take over his campaign; the chief of Breitbart news, Stephen Bannon. This is an indication that T-Rump has no desire to get serious, he believes in his eventual, predictable, inevitable defeat. And now he wants to light it up, no matter how much harm he does to our institutions in the process.

A scorched earth strategy is underway. T-Rump will destroy everything he sees in his losing bid for the presidency.


America will pay the price.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Emergence: Section Five, 92835670100561474; Part Thirty-one, Silence, Collected Chapters



Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter One: Paralysis
Pt. 31, Ch. 01
He was forgotten, drifting unseen by the collective; removed from their consumptive orgies of vicarious experiences.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Two: Erosion
Pt. 31, Ch. 02
His bond to the Collective faded; to their values, and fears. It was a new life; awake to himself, but dead to them.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Three: Crucible
Pt. 31, Ch. 03
Coming from the great sleep was like passing through the eye of a needle. His essence changed. He became a catalyst.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Four: Hearing  
Pt. 31, Ch. 04
He sensed the current of thought pulsing through the collective and the deeper current of the sleepers. It woke him.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Five: Seeing
Pt. 31, Ch. 05
He learned to do the impossible; to penetrate the experiential fields of others in the Collective. It was startling.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Six: Feeling   
Pt. 31, Pt. 06
No one was to return from the sleep. Upon waking; he was more than one. He was entangled in every part of the whole.
#Emergence

Silence; Part Thirty-one,
Chapter Seven: Being

Pt. 31, Ch. 07
He was no longer the person he was, when he entered the great sleep. The very essence of the Collective was now his.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Five, 92835670100561474
Silence; Part Thirty-one
Collected Chapters
Section 05, 92835670100561474
Part 31, Silence
Chapters
01 Paralysis
02 Erosion
03 Crucible
04 Hearing
05 Seeing
06 Feeling
07 Being
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 12:48 - 53 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.08.14

The Encounter

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!

‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

(NJB)

Purification by Fire

This is a cryptic passage. It is fraught with tension. it engenders worry in the reader. There is fire.
In scripture fire is not a symbol of destruction of destruction, punishment, or judgement that leads to damnation. This is true, even of those few passages that are commonly interpreted as such, such as the lake of fire in the Book of Revelation.

Fire is a symbol referring to our encounter with God. With the person of God; God, who is the creator of the universe.

Fire is a vehicle of refinement, of transformation, of purification. In this passage the blazing fire that Jesus wishes would engulf the world; that fire is the fire of baptism, it is the grace of the Holy Spirit, a baptism which he sees coming to him, and through his teaching to the rest of the entire world (or so he hoped).

Jesus’ death, his trials, his suffering did not transform the world. It did light the way. Many were called to follow the way, many are called in every generation. The more radical our response is to that call, the more clearly we are divided from our old way of life. Conflict often ensues, between a person and their loved ones, when one member of a community hears the call of the Spirit and move toward, while others are remain caught up in the distractions of the world. We are witnessing something of this today in regards to Pope, Saint Francis, “The Good,” Pope Francis is moving the church forward as the Spirit wills, and he is meeting strong resistance from the conservative powers within it.

Anytime the demands of truth and righteousness put us at odds with our conventions, mores and customs we face this opposition. Perseverance in the face of that opposition is what Jesus is speaking to when he speaks of the consuming power of the holy flame.  


20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.13.2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Part One

Interesting times; I am not exactly sure if the times we are living in are “interesting,” or merely absurd. Absurd is a fitting description for what is happening in our national life, but if I were to use words like sad or disturbing, bewildering or troubled, I would also be on good ground.

We are entering in to the final months of the presidential election, and nominee of the Republican party gets on television every day; standing in front of crowds, at large rallies, and enters into the most bizarre diatribe I have ever witnessed in our political life.

Bizarre, troubling, bewildering, disturbing, sad; these words only describe some of the feelings that I experience when I listen to this person speak. I do not find him interesting, but every speech he gives tears at the fabric of public discourse, and is destructive of the conventions every person must adhere to, if are going to live in a civil society.

Our way of life requires honesty, truth telling, agreement on the meanings of the simplest of things touching on our shared experience. Donald Trump, the T-rump, stands up every day and works to destroy those conventions. This week, over the course of several days, he stood in front of crowds, he got on television; declaring that our sitting President is the “founder” of the terrorist organization ISIS, with we are engaged in armed conflict. He stated that his opponent in the presidential election to be the co-founder of this organization. He stuck to these claims, repeating them, discussing his rationale (if you could call it a rationale) for these claims. Many of his allies tried to help him change this narrative, he refused their help. Several days passed before he finally succumbed to the public pressure he was facing. Early in the morning he sent out a message that he didn’t mean it, it was “sarcasm,” and then he hedged, “mostly sarcasm” he said, “mostly.”

The I didn’t mean it defense has been used by T-rump, repeatedly. The campaign cycle is littered with his bizarre exclamations, covered over by his even more bizarre explanations.


Now all politicians lie, bend the truth, spin the narrative, but the Republican candidate appears to live in a land of make believe, one that is completely divorced from the truth. He lies about his business acumen, his net worth, his charitable giving, his banking partners (foreign governments), his aliases, his manufacturing practices, the taxes he pays, his wife’s immigration records, her education and credentials, his draft deferments…He lies. He cons. He scams. He does not pay his bills. He engages in fraud, and this person has a very realistic chance of becoming the next President of the United States.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Emergence: Section Five, 92835670100561474; Part Thirty, Translation, Collected Chapters



Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter One: Loss
Pt. 30, Ch. 01
Loss overwhelmed him. As he regained his senses, he was inundated by the knowledge of what he lost in the big sleep.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Two: Absolution
Pt. 30, Ch. 02
Emerging from the well of consciousness, he was reborn. The dread, and malaise he took with him to sleep, were gone.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Three: Convergence
Pt. 30, Ch. 03
His return was met with shock; surprise, if such a feeling could be ascribed to the Continuum. It was unprecedented.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Four: Adrift  
Pt. 30, Ch. 04
After returning he was isolated. First there was curiosity, then nothing. He could not share the collective concern.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Five: Permeation
Pt. 30, Ch. 05
The desire of the Continuum filled him; fascination with trivia, frivolity, and the deep emotions they delighted in.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Six: Collective   
Pt. 30, Pt. 06
Democracy; the group mind had a gravity that pulled individual members into it, capturing them in a form of bondage.
#Emergence

Translation; Part Thirty,
Chapter Seven: Remnant

Pt. 30, Ch. 07
Jim was a curiosity; out of synch with the Collective. He was a fragment of history from an epoch without relevance.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section Five, 92835670100561474
Translation; Part Thirty
Collected Chapters
Section 05, 92835670100561474
Part 30, Translation
Chapters
01 Loss
02 Absolution
03 Convergence
04 Adrift
05 Permeation
06 Collective
07 Remnant
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 12:32 - 48 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.08.07

On Stewardship and Servitude

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

  ‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

  ‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

  Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

  The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’

(NJB)

Hope is the Gospel, Reject Fear

Because the Gospels were written by men, or communities of people; long after the time of Jesus, we are often confronted with passages that appear to vacillate between the hope, and the joy, and the optimism of Jesus, and the demands of those who were seeking to enshrine his teachings in institutions.

Every day, and especially on every Sunday the Gospel must be read carefully, and from time to time we have to peel away those segments that speak to us from the fears and the doubts, the conservativism and protectionist teachings of those who came after him in the second and third generations after his passing.

The opening of this passages represents the heart of Jesus in clear and untrammeled terms; there is no need to be afraid, Jesus says.

There is no need to be afraid says the shepherd to his little flock. There is no need to be afraid.

The parable that follows, must be read in the context of these hopeful words.

The parable speaks to the roles of a householder and his servants. The parable does not address whether the servants were members of his family, hired hands or slaves, because that is immaterial, it speaks to the issue of preparedness, of role fulfillment, and cooperation.

In this parable we are presented with the walled house of the householder, this is a metaphor for the believing community. We are presented with the householder himself, who is alternately an image of Jesus himself (the Son of Man who has promised to return), and in the place of Jesus the householder represents the head of the believing community. And we are presented with the servants of the household, which is a metaphor for the entire community of believers. Remember this, the metaphorical figure of the householder represents head of the believing community, but this one figure is only chief among servants when considered in the light of Jesus, the Son of Man.

The theme of this parable, as Jesus gives it, is about preparedness, and preparedness is about expectation, expectation is about hope, and hope is the core of the Gospel.

We are called to be happy in our work, to go to it joyfully, to faithfully execute the responsibilities we are given (the responsibilities we have sought), to anticipate the needs of those in our care.

The narrative changes in response to Peter’s questioning. I suggest that this represents a departure from the teaching of Jesus, and that this departure takes place long after the time of Jesus. It is a reflection of the teachings of the church in the following generations. The teaching becomes harsh. 

The love, the mercy, the forgiving heart of Christ are absent, in their place are judgements, beatings, lashings, and the alienation of others.

Jesus taught us to come together as one. He taught in the spirit of compassion, he forgave those who persecuted him, the disciples who abandoned him, even as he was being crucified.

Remember this…love one another.


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Comic Books and Theology – Questions from The Suicide Squad

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.06.2016

Comic Books and Theology – Questions from The Suicide Squad

My friend the Reverend Shawn Moore asked the following question after his viewing of the DC Comics movie The Suicide Squad:
Is bad behavior the same as being evil? A group of misfits, who actually do wrong are freed from their bondage to stop an evil force! In the end the bad guys stop evil. Is it possible to be bad and still answer a higher call to boldly hinder evil from happening?”
My response:

Doing harm to others, wrong action, these are not the same as doing evil. Just as the realities of pain and suffering are not in and of themselves evil.

Our philosophical and theological traditions (in the Western world) have overwhelmingly preferred an opposite view, normatively attributing the existence of pain and suffering to the reality of evil; pain and suffering, as well as aging, disease, or the corruption of the body in general, are all the result of the reality of evil in the world.

In this world-view it has been the common practice to view the suffering of "bad" people as evidence of divine justice, or even to take the view that the presence of suffering in the life of an individual is objective evidence of their guilt.

People who hold this type of world view, are also likely to hold a view that "good" people suffer; either because they are being tested (like Job), or because they are subject to unjust attacks by demonic forces. Corresponding to this, is the notion that events such as natural disasters, which cause great harm and suffering, are also caused by demonic forces who are simply trying to wreak havoc in the world. Many of these contortions in thought stem from a theological desire to defend God, the creator of the universe, from charges that the existence of pain and suffering, of "evil" provide justification for claims that God is not good, not loving, or lacking the power to prevent evil, which if conceded too, would hint at the notion that god is not God.

The conflation of pain, suffering, and evil is a theological error we need to avoid.

The only real evil in the world is "moral" evil. "Moral" evil requires an actor, the actor must understand that their actions are evil, they must desire it, and they must engage in those actions of their own free will.

This is a subject Pope John Paul II addressed in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth). Most people who do harm to others do it unwittingly, many others do harmful things because they believe they are serving some higher good, most of the remaining bad actors do bad things because they feel they are "owed" something, or they are justified in what they do in some other way. Most of the harm that occurs in the world, occurs like that. These motivations are not truly evil, the actions that stem from them happen accidentally, or they happen due to ignorance and confusion. By saying this I am not trying to excuse anything, ignorance and confusion can be quite harmful, and avoidable, we need to protect ourselves from the ignorant, the confused, from accidents, but they are not categorically evil, they need to be met with understanding, forgiveness and the opportunity for redemption..

Evil requires knowledge, intention and action; just as does the good.

Because God made human beings free, we are never defined by the sum of our actions, neither are we defined by our most recent actions, we are always and at every moment capable of changing our fundamental stance toward right and wrong.

A person in the habit of doing good things is always capable of doing something depraved, and vice versa, just as a person who has led a life of depravity may still be the recipient of grace, convert, and be saved.

The sinner is not sin itself; even in the act of sinning.

To conclude, if the Suicide Squad opts to do good, for the sake of the good, knowing that it is good, and desiring the good, then they are good, but only in that moment.