The question, “Why Me?,” joins two of the most basic human concerns. It unites our instinctive desire to understand cause & effect with the realization of self. In less sophisticated terms, it might be thought to be the intense curiosity of the cause of hurt, or pain, or injustice. Anyone who has seen a toddler learning to walk when they suddenly fall, knit their brow, and shriek at the ceiling, sees the frustration of that small life coming to a realization of both their limitations but also their independence thwarted. Judgment grows from that second realization. That young mind is outraged at the situation. In a less healthy environment, this mind may eventually become outraged at other things—themselves, those around them, that which they don’t understand.
In no uncertain terms, Jeremiah explains why judgment is being cast upon the chosen people. In John’s Gospel, we see the complex nature of all judgment. As in Jeremiah, we’re reminded that the only true judgment is from God. In John’s Gospel, those who think they know what is right & wrong are misinformed: they know Jesus is from Galilee, not Bethlehem; and, they know that he’s an uneducated outsider in regard to the establishment. Though in the secular position to judge, the authorities remain in a threatening point of stasis in response to Jesus’ actions. The Gospel outlines a clear path towards the sacrifice of the Lenten season. It also stresses clearly who ultimately has the right to judge and call for such sacrifice. And it is not this rich, exalted and self-satisfied bunch.
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t asked “Why me?” at one point in their lives. (The snarky answer might be, “why not?”) But if we believe in a universe with a plan, there ought to be a reason somewhere. In which case, if there is, we’re presuming to demand an answer from the creator of this plan and our reason for being. Instead, shouldn’t we be trusting on the path that we were sent on to do the best work of which we’re capable in spite of those obstacles? The judges in the Gospel were misinformed just as many of those who judge us will have no idea who we really are or what we’re about. Let them dictate your actions, or wail against them, and that divine plan which so many believe in will be thwarted much more effectively than the wrinkled rug which trips a toddler.
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