By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 2, do you think that the suffering of these Galileans proves that they are more sinful?
This passage is grounded in the human experience of suffering, and it exposes one of our most destructive and hurtful responses to it. Part of the mystery of suffering is the way it opens us to chaos; we are forever seeking to shut that door and place the experience of suffering into boxes we can organize and understand. We domesticate our suffering and making it bearable by oversimplifying the connection between a misdeed and the consequential experience of suffering. This works even better for us if we can pin those misdeeds to others, especially groups of people that we may already find suspect. This is what the crowd is doing and what we do every time we lay the blame for suffering at the feet of any group not our own: it’s the Muslims, those migrants, gays, liberals, conservatives, blacks, whites, women, men, the poor, the homeless… my wife, husband, child, parents. The words of Jesus may seem harsh to us because he is saying a firm ‘no’ to all such labeling and discrimination, finger-pointing and blame-shifting, violence and scapegoating. But this ‘no’ is the starting point for a true ‘yes’ to life.
Prayer Jesus, help us to bear our suffering with compassion, not hate.