If you do not repent…
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply: “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! (Lk. 13:1-5)
The idea of a God who is
temperamental, capricious and vengeful, responsible for the countless misfortunes on earth, is common to people of all times. Faced with the sufferings of human history, it seems natural to think of God as a Deity who is ready to hurl lightning bolts at us. This was probably the mentality of the people who questioned Jesus. But instead of addressing the issue of divine punishment, Jesus speaks about human freedom, about the responsibility of human beings, who are called to undergo conversion in the concrete realties of daily life; who are invited to change direction and set out on the path leading to good. God is patient with us, moving at our pace, because his will for us is life, not death.
From the book Il Vangelo si fa strada by Roberta Vinerba, FSP Editions