Why not take a bot of time to reflect on Sunday’s Gospel?
In the age of the world wide web and of 24/7 television news travels fast. From events in New Zealand with the awful slaying of ordinary men and women at prayer to the destruction taking place in Malawi and Mozambique caused by a natural phenomenon. It is easier to know of such events than it is not to know of them. Our phones and our even our watches beep keeping us abreast of developments.
Of course, even before science and technology were so central it has always been the case that nothing travels as fast as bad news: be it personal, family or international, the news always gets out.
As Jesus addresses the crowds his discourse is interrupted with the bad news of the slaying of Galileans by Pilate. And this bad news becomes an opening for him to develop their understanding of the life of faith. Bad things do not happen to individuals because they them themselves are bad, but precisely because the perpetrator is bad.
At the same time, he is anxious to point out that events happen, often unforeseen and unexpected as much as they may well be undeserved, and so while we hope for the best we must prepare ourselves for other things too.
For anyone serious about the life of faith, repentance is the means of preparation. We cannot be like barren trees taking up ground and returning nothing. Our faith needs to be cared for, fed and nourished if it is to sustain us in the maelstrom of life.
These Lenten days are given to us to care for that faith. Firstly, we recognise the need to change but also that change is a slow process. It is not only about changing behaviour but about a change of attitude as well. If we are serious about that then prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the spade and fork we need to begin the work and bear the necessary fruit.