3rd Sunday of Lent (C) 2019

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus rejects the traditional Jewish belief that disasters, accidents, sickness and misfortune are a punishment from God for our sinfulness and disobedience.
We still find this attitude today among many Christians.
It is totally wrong as it portrays God, our loving Father, as an intolerant, irascible ogre who delights in punishing his ‘beloved’ children. This attitude is highly insulting to God just as accusing you of treating your grandchildren in the same way would be highly insulting to you.
We ourselves, as a result of our words or actions, will often bring trouble upon ourselves. If I get drunk and assault someone I will end up in court and be sued for compensation. If I steal I will end up in Jail. If I abuse and insult people I will end up being unpopular and isolated.
These are misfortunes I bring upon myself and have nothing to do with God.
The correct Christian response to disasters, conflicts, misfortunes and grief is not to ask why? but to get involved in the many ways open to me to alleviate the suffering, loss and grief resulting from the disaster or misfortune.
I can ask ‘why’ as loudly as I want and as persistently as I like but will get no adequate answer in this life.
Much better and Christlike to help out as best I can and share what I have with the victims.
On the other hand consider that the people who have themselves suffered loss, those who have had to endure sickness themselves, those who have been victims themselves are most likely and best qualified to help others in the same situation. They, through their suffering, have received the gift of being able to best emphatise with others who have suffered in a similar manner. This gift, granted to those who have bravely borne and survived great loss and hardship, is not to be ignored but utilised for the sake of others who are similarly burdened.