October 24, 2020

Do you think that because these Galileans suffered… they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?

Jesus addresses here the thinking that was rife in his day (and in ours as well) that suffering and misfortune come to us because of our sinfulness. Although unfortunate events might allow Jesus an opportunity to defend God against charges of mismanaging the universe, he does not go that route. Jesus only implies that we must not equate tragedy with divine punishment. Sin does not make atrocities come. They just come.

Life’s fragility gives it urgency. Jesus turns attention away from disasters, victims, and “why?” questions, to address those of us who thus far have survived the hazards of the universe and human society. We should not mistake our good fortune as evidence of God’s special blessing.

Jesus wants to talk about repentance. The need for repentance is a universal condition, shared by both random victims and survivors. When Jesus says, twice, “unless you repent you will all perish,” he does not promise that the godless will be struck by misfortune. He refers to death as meaning a destruction of one’s soul (compare Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33). He emphasizes the suddenness with which death comes. Just as Pilate’s and the tower’s victims did not enjoy the luxury of choosing the time of their demise, likewise the unrepentant will suddenly find they have delayed too long and lost themselves.

None of us are worthy of or earn God’s favor. It is pure gift. The Eucharist is proof of the depth of God’s love for us. And at each Mass, we begin by acknowledging our need for God’s mercy and confessing before communion that we are not worthy of God’s love.

Do I really believe that I am not worthy of God’s love and favor?

Let Us Pray:

O loving God, deepen in me the realization that I need constant repentance for my failure to correspond with your grace in my life. Deepen also my gratitude for the many blessings that I do not really deserve.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.