"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" So... it's a matter of either-or, right? Call it karma or God's just retribution, but someone must have sinned to explain the reason why such a tragedy had occurred. (Though unless we invoke the fallacious concept of reincarnation,
it is difficult to understand how this man might have sinned before his birth).
So why, then, did God permit Herod's slaughter of the Holy Innocents? For what reason or purpose did the 3000 innocent victims perish when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11? Why did hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have to die when the tsunami hit the Asian coasts in December, 2004? I could go on and on, of course, considering that the human race has been subjected to innumerable tragedies and seemingly senseless suffering from the very beginning unto this present day. But consider those eighteen men upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, crushing them to death. Jesus rightly asks his interlocutors, "Think they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay: but, except you repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13: 4-5).
But why, why, why has so much seemingly senseless and arbitrary (according to human reasoning) death and suffering afflicted both the just and the unjust, both the righteous and the unrighteous, over the whole course of human history? Yet... who do we think we are that we should expect to fathom the depths of divine providence? Or do we really think we can calculate by means of a divine calculus an explanation for the distribution of death and suffering that occurs in this world? In the instance of the blind man of the Gospel, at least, our Lord gives us the answer: "Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." And so... what more do we require?
The truth is, God is not the author of sin, death and suffering--nor do these provisional facts of our existence in this fallen world possess an ultimate meaning or reality. They are, rather, the consequences of our rebellion against God, according to the free will He has so graciously bestowed upon us. In this world of corruption and violence we ourselves have created, sin and suffering are inevitable... and in the end, we must all die. We shall all, however, be judged at the end of time according to the measure of love we have acquired in our hearts during our earthly sojourn. So let us all--no matter how far we may have wondered from God and defiled in our own lives the essential goodness of His creation--beseech our All-Compassionate Creator that He might grant unto us the gift of love in our hearts, that we might in the end--by His grace--prove worthy of the gift of eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom.