(Luke 13:1-9) Every day, we are inundated with countless stories of tragedies from around the world. Whether it is an earthquake, civil unrest, a shooting, or a tragic accident, we are often at a loss to explain why these things happen. There seems to be no reason for the magnitude of human suffering in the world. Some people might suggest that victims have done something to deserve misfortune, but this kind of thinking stands in sharp contrast to the teaching of Jesus. When questioned about two incidents – the Galileans who were killed on Pilate’s orders and the eighteen people who were crushed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed – Jesus responded by saying, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus?” … “Do you think that [those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them] were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?” (cf. Lk 13:2,4) Jesus makes clear that these tragedies did not happen to people because they deserved it; it was not some kind of punishment for their sins.
Bad things often happen in life through no fault of our own; none of us can see what the future will bring. The pain and suffering that we see around us is not meant to cause us to become bitter or to separate us from God, but serve to remind us of our own weakness and frailty, of our need to repent of our sins so that we will be ready to meet God at any time. God loves us so much that He will do everything He can to give us the opportunity to be reconciled to Him. Consider the parable of the fig tree. Even though it bore no fruit for three years, the gardener (our Lord) was still prepared to nourish it – “to dig around it and put manure on it” – in the hope that it might bear fruit in the following year. (cf. Lk 13:6-9)
The Church gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of sins, to unite us to God and to strengthen us on our life’s journey. Today, take a few moments to examine your heart. Are there things in your life that are standing in the way of your relationship with God? Are there things of which you know that you need to repent? If so, know that God is patiently waiting for you to turn to Him, so that you too can experience the beauty of His mercy and love and find the peace and joy that comes from being reconciled to Him.
– Sharon van der Sloot
“‘Yet even now,’ says the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” Joel 2:12-13