In the wake of the earthquake in Chile and amidst the tsunami
warnings, USA Today had a headline this weekend asking, "Is
nature out of control?"
Say what? In whose control? And
has it ever been "under control?"
Sunday's Gospel reveals that these questions are as old as the hills. Terrible
stuff happens, like earthquakes and towers falling on people, and we grasp for
a reason. When the world literally shifts under your feet (sailing on land,
anyone?), more than just your footing gets unsteady. Talk to
anyone who has been through a disaster or tragedy-- either natural or manmade -- and it's
clear that part of the suffering they experience is the loss of steady worldview, the sense of control we get from believing that our right actions or right beliefs make us safe.
Jesus is clear, though:
the victims are not at fault.This is not about who deserves to die and who does not. Stuff (or manure. . .) happens. Life can be brutal. It's not our job to control it or come up with the reasons why things happen. Our only work is to be fruitful with whatever patch of ground we're planted in, for as long as we get to be there.