At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He 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)
Are sin and guilt linked to suffering and death?
Many a times we tend to link them in our reflections and in our discussions. We say: so and so is suffering so much and he/she is suffering because he/she has sinned. When someone suffers a long sickness immediately we conclude saying that he/she has sinned heavily.
When we hear of death, even in the natural calamities (like Tsunami, storms, earth quakes etc) we immediately rush to conclude saying that these people are guilty of some grievous faults etc.
At times we even connect to one’s past life or life of his/her parents and forefathers for the sufferings of his/her present life.
Look at Jesus answer to this question of suffering:
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. (Jn 9,2-3)
When we look at the events of life like suffering and death with the eye of God then the answers to our natural questions are different. Suffering and death are not linked to sin and quilt. Whatever happens in the life of an individual is to reveal the glory of God. God has a plan and he works his way through the events of life.
But Jesus links death to non-repentance. Repentant life is to return to God. Placing God in everything and seeing everything in God’s eye is really a repentant life. An individual should be given a chance to repent, if need be, he should be given, even a second and a third chance. Repentance leads to life and to GOD.