Time to wet our houses LUKE 13:1–9
One of our local wisdom sayings here in Trinidad which comes to my mind from reading today’s gospel goes like this: “When you see your neighbour’s house on fire, wet your own.”
I believe that this is the point that Jesus is making to those who presented what seems like headline news of the day. It is truly amazing how our society has become accustomed to bad news, seemingly for entertainment.
Bad news is glorified by making it to the front pages of our daily and weekly papers and usually in bright colours. I believe the glorification of bad news simply for the sake of morbid interest or entertainment fails in any way to help us become more humane, mature or Christian.
Jesus’ words to those who came with the latest headline news of the day was ‘…and do you suppose that those Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galilean?’.
This question, if honestly engaged, shifts the focus from unaffected, detached entertainment to a deeper concern, a concern that brings to our minds and heart that any of us, at any time, may suffer the same disaster. In recognising this, there can never be unaffected entertainment or any detached concern for the suffering of others.
The second point in this teaching is that such disasters were not as a result of the sins of those affected. Jesus does not give any reason why those disasters took place and leaves that as an open question.
What He clearly states is that they were not greater sinners than others. This, for me, brings to mind how fragile our lives are; how suddenly disasters may come our way; and how powerless we find ourselves when they do take place. Jesus’ teaching for us in such circumstances is that we must take the opportunity to beg God’s mercy on our lives, lest the same thing should happen to us.
My heart is heavy as I write this weekend’s gospel meditation because of that terrible event in New Zealand which is making headline news. I have been asking myself, how can such evil occur in a place of worship? Why should all those people die in such a gruesome manner? We can be assured of the words of our Saviour in today’s gospel which clearly says to us, they were not greater sinners than any others.
Further, I believe that it is indeed a time for us all to wet our houses thoroughly. We have to use this moment not as a time for gossip or entertainment but as a time to adhere to the call for repentance. It is a time for the soul searching necessary for our ongoing conversion as we recognise our utter dependence on the mercy of Almighty God.
God of mercy and compassion,
Look upon Your people as we struggle under our burdens.
Come to our aid, bend our hearts.
Help us to heed Your call to have our hearts converted by Your love
and use us to build Your Kingdom for all Your people.
The Gospel Meditations for March are by Fr Roger Paponette, Judicial Vicar and parish priest of San Rafael.