Advent Day 13/14: No Response to Sin
During this weekend of Advent, the Armenian Church points us to the Gospel of St. Luke chapter 13 where Jesus explains that disaster, or evil, does not happen because we sin. Jesus brings up two incidents that were part of the common history of the people he was talking to, much like the terrorist attacks of “911” and the flattening of the twin towers would be for us. 911 is a part of our recent history. In other words, the details of these tragedies are not important; Jesus uses these as example to point to evil that befalls innocent people, because everyone to whom he was talking knew these news items. The first was the story of Galileans who made a sacred gesture to the Lord which was desecrated by Pilate, the Roman Procurator. The second incident was the catastrophe involving a tower which fell and killed 18 people. Regarding the victims of these tragedies, Jesus says, “Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
As we study the Essential Teachings of Jesus as found in the Sermon on the Mount, we are reminded that our actions are not what causes catastrophe or cursed life. As many believe today, so too, in the times of Jesus, when evil befalls people, especially the seemingly innocent, there are many who believe it is God’s wrath being played out on their sins. As we have been exploring these past few weeks and will continue to explore on our Journey to Theophany, there is no one exempt from sin. Today’s break in the Sermon on the Mount is an important reminder from Jesus that God does not bring tragedy on people, and certainly not in response to our sins.
“Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish,” says our Lord.
Let us pray, from the 15th hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer, “Christ, the guardian of all, let Your Right Hand guard and shelter me by day and by night, while at home and while away, while asleep and while awake, that I may not fall. Have mercy on me on all your creatures and on me, a sinner. Amen.