Recently, I have met with a number of people who are going through some difficult times. Some of the situations are medical, even life-threatening. Others are economical. Then there are those that are relation-al. And as each of us knows, when one area of our lives is not going well, it negatively impacts other areas as well, and we find ourselves struggling to cope with a variety of challenges.
At times like these it’s not uncommon for us to wonder, even aloud, “why me?” as we strive to make meaning out of what we’re experiencing. We can have thoughts that we’re being treated unfairly, or have the worst luck; or we struggle to figure out what we’ve “done wrong to deserve this.”
Some wonder why a good God would allow such a painful event to happen; or they try to resist the belief or even do believe that they’re being punished by none other than God. When we’re grappling with these notions about God, it can be especially tumultuous because we find it hard to turn to God for the help and consolation we need if we believe God is the one who is causing it.
People have been grappling with the same questions from the beginning of time. Our ancestors in faith believed that if you were having a hard time it was because you had sinned or perhaps your parents had sinned. But Jesus rejected this notion ( John 9:2-3). If we ever wonder if God is causing our difficulties, look to Jesus, the human face of God. Nowhere in scripture does it say that Jesus made someone blind or lame or leprous; or that Jesus ostracized anyone or wished them harm. His heart was opened to all, and he strived to bring healing and hope to all, especially those who were suffering.
Sometime ago there was a popular book published by a Jewish Rabbi: “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” Interesting reading and the question is great. In my own mind, as one who has been through difficult times and has asked the question, I have come up with several responses.
One: Bad things happen to everyone and good things happen
to every one.
Two: Goodness or badness may be determined by our expectations.
Three: What begins as bad sometimes turns out good.
Four: What begins as good sometimes turns out bad.
Five: Life is what happens in the good times & bad times.
Six: Life is messy for everyone.
Seven: God is with me in all times
Eight: I will always have, from God, what I need to go forward
Nine: Life IS beautiful
Ten: “Some of God’s greatest gifts are our unanswered prayers”
I don’t ask myself the “why me” question as much these days as I once did, even though it comes to my lips from time to time. Usually I catch myself and chuckle as I think Why not me. And then I turn to the One who loves me unconditionally and whose promise to NEVER abandon or forsake me holds firm.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Weekend of January 30/31, 2021
In today’s Gospel we hear proclaimed the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He teaches. He heals. And all are amazed.
By their baptism, Christian stewards realize they are called to do the same in their lives. They are called to be the light of Christ each day.
As we bring closure to the beginning of this new year, now is a good time to ask the Lord to fill our hearts with courage and faith, so that we too may publicly minister in his name.
Let us ask that we may be liberated from our insecurities and fear so that we can share the Gospel authoritatively and work to heal at least one wounded relationship in the coming months ahead.