It is a comforting thought – albeit a false comfort – to think that goodness, health, and happiness are signs of God’s blessing, and suffering is a sign of God’s punishment. This week, though, Jesus makes it clear that this is not how God operates. When he was informed about Pilate’s murder of some Galilean worshippers, Jesus taught that it was not their sin that brought this disaster upon them. Then he spoke about people who had died when a tower had collapsed on top of them and made it clear that it was not their sin that caused this disaster either. Then, in the tough words, “unless you repent, you will perish, too” Jesus declares that good fortune is not a guarantee of good spirituality, or of God’s reward. Suffering comes on the innocent, and even evil people can enjoy good circumstances.

The key here, though, is that, whether we are “good” or “bad” we all need to repent – we all need to turn from the ways of this world’s system (the grasping for power, wealth, and pleasure) to the ways of God’s Reign (justice, simplicity, generosity, grace, love, servanthood and peace). Then, as we begin to live according to the values of God’s Reign, we will be able to face whatever comes – good or bad – with the strength and grace of Jesus, and we will bear the fruit of bringing life to those around us.

This call to repentance and fruit bearing is the challenge of this week’s readings.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.