Monday, May 26, 2014


Today's Gospel poses a perennial question: Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why are some of us born with various infirmities--such as blindness--while others are born whole? There was actually a book written a number of years ago by a Jewish rabbi called Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?  I never read it, but it was a bestseller--New York Times, Time Magazine, your name it, yet the review I read (surprise!) concluded that though the book was intriguing, it offered no definitive answer to the question posed. 

Consider Job, a truly righteous man, who lost all he possessed and ended up sitting on a dung hill scraping his puss filled boils with potsherds--and yet, by his proverbial patience and longsuffering endurance, could exclaim, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Our Lord assured His disciples that neither the blind man himself nor his parents sinned that he should be born blind, but rather that the glory of God should be revealed.  Still we ask, Why me and not him?  Why was I born in a ghetto and she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth?  Some people get all the luck....With my luck, things are bound to turn out bad....I was abused....I am a victim....I can't help it, I was born that  way!

These are common ways of thinking nowadays, but such an attitude is futile and gets us nowhere.  It is a product of our egocentrism and our unwillingness to accept reality as it is, according to the unfathomable Providence of God.  The spirit of the age is that we should all be equal, that the good things of this world should be equally distributed and that no one should be left out in any way.  But like I told my own children when they were teenagers, life isn't fair.  And though we are all equal in the eyes of God in the sense that we are infinitely precious in His sight, there is no spiritual law that says we must be inherently equal.  Some are rich and some are poor.  Some are sick and disabled, while others are healthy and whole.  Some tend to be lazy while others are consumed by the ambition to get ahead.  And, of course, some of us are intelligent and possess various talents, while others possibly possess gifts of an entirely different order.

In any case, evil circumstances are inevitable in this fallen world.  Bad things happen along with the good, and we cannot always control the impact outside forces exert on the course of our lives.  We can, however, choose to glorify God whatever our circumstances, to be profoundly thankful to God for all things, knowing that--as St. Paul reminds us--all things work together for the good for those who love God and strive to fulfill His commandments.   

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