Saturday, October 25, 2014
29th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Eph 4:7-16
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Some persons told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple: Pilate had Galileans killed and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.
“And those eighteen persons in Siloah who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”
And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener: ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?’ The gardener replied: ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertilizer; and perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it doesn’t, you can cut it down.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Jesus disagreed with the religious leaders’ conclusion that what happened to the Galileans who suffered in the hands of Pilate was inflicted by God to punish them for their past sins. Jesus insisted that misfortunes are not punishments from above.
Why then do misfortunes happen? The two most common reasons are comeuppance and implication. Misfortune by implication results from the evil deeds of others. Because sin has a social dimension the innocent ones become the necessary casualties of evil deeds of others. If this is the kind of misfortune you are experiencing right now the challenge is to fight evil even while loving the sinner. Passivity is misunderstood religiosity. Evil thrives because people think that Christianity is confined to Calvary. But Calvary is only one part of the story of Jesus. He fought hard to rectify the system. When a soldier slapped him before Pilate, did he turn the other cheek? No. He protested the evil act, saying: “If I have done nothing wrong, then why did you slap me?”
Misfortune by comeuppance is simply the result of a person’s own evil acts. What comes around comes around! In such cases it is unfair to blame God who may even be in pain while helplessly watching us suffer the results of our wrongdoing. Human freedom renders God “powerless” in the sense that his great respect for our freedom will leave us where we are the moment we invoke it. If this is the kind of misfortune happening to you, know that the best option is to abandon your evil deeds. Keep this in mind: “Unless you change your ways you will also end like the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with sacrifices to false Gods”. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, grant us perseverance in sufferings so that we may come to the reward you promise through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. GAUDENTIUS OF BRESCIA, Bishop. He was born in Brescia, Italy (4th century). On the death of Bishop Philastrius, he was elected as his successor even in absentia. He governed his diocese with prudence and humility. He died in 410.