I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3.
A few people who witnessed the horrible event reported it to Jesus, that Pontius Pilate had killed some Galileans while they were worshipping. The God of Israel is a very protective God in history. They have a picture of a God from their ancestor’s stories, a god who helped their ancestors to run away from Pharaoh and helped them to cross the sea. Image of a God who fight for them and with them to claim their promised land. Obviously the God should protect the people who adore them and more than that the God should protect the people who fight for Israelites. Galileans are part of Zealot sect, a political movement started in first century to rebel against Roman Empire and expel it from Holy Land by war.
Those making the report were looking for Jesus to offer some explanation. The “sin and calamity” presentation involves a presumption that an astonishing tragedy in some way must signify extraordinary guilt. In their mind they must have questioned the significance of God’s protection for his people.
Jesus response was very sharp and confronting that he focused on the need of repentance than the justice of those deaths. Jesus didn’t say that those people were sinners and violence for Holy land is widely acceptable by Jewish scriptures.
Focusing on the repentance it is interesting to think about a few aspects. Those people were giving their worship even if they are sinners. A mere worshiping and some violent and constructive act to help the Holy Land didn’t help them from the terrible fate. Jesus didn’t consider them martyrs; instead he exampled them for repentance. In our life it doesn’t matter much, whether we attend Tridentine Mass or Novus Ordo Missae when a simple Amen add value to everything precedent. It doesn’t matter much you are a traditional Orthodox Christian or modern catholic if you don’t spare the real meaning of Christianity. What we miss is the repentance, the essential part. It doesn’t matter much even if the Pope is not the Real Pope, if you accept the sacraments and His grace. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63. If a murderer priest can sanctify a sacrament with the grace he received from God, why not a Pope cannot guide his disciples. He will do, and you may be out without the coat from the feast. Matthew 22.
A constructive criticism is good and accepted by God as he gave us intelligence and prudence. Pharisees raised a question when disciples eat grain on Sabbath while crossing the field: “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” In fact they were questioning Jesus and disciples on good base on scriptures; “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” (Ex. 20:9-10), even though the disciples were not farmers trying to do some illicit work. Jesus didn’t question their motive but made clearer that their whole understanding of the Sabbath law is incorrect. His question, “Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?” (vs. 5), made clear that his disciples are actually equivalent to priests in temple. So a conflicting new law may be more ingenious because “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27. And obviously his mercy will allow his disciples to correct themselves while we confront them. “And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75. So it is better to keep away from opposing instead of criticising.
Christianity requires a daily repentance. A thought that how imprudent were our acts will be the burning fuel for love to Jesus.
“Oh Most humane and adorable Jesus, your endless grace and mercy flows forth. Before granting the gift of absolution to earnest repenters of sinful ways, you demanded a sacrificial compensation. For a wrongful act cannot be rectified until punishment has been accepted! Yes, for the salvation of my soul, Jesus, You accepted the price of the Cross! Grant me the grace to remain free of debts, my heart remaining flawless before You, Making Your absolution truly worthwhile!
Behold me at Thy feet, O Jesus of Nazareth, behold the most wretched of creatures, who comes into Thy presence humbled and penitent! Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Thy great mercy! I have sinned and my sins are always before Thee. Yet my soul belongs to Thee, for Thou hast created it, and redeemed it with Thy Precious Blood. Ah, grant that Thy redeeming work be not in vain! Have pity on me; give me tears of true repentance; pardon me for I am Thy child; pardon me as Thou didst pardon the penitent thief; look upon me from Thy throne in heaven and give me Thy blessing.”