“god does not cure sick people,” declares jesus christ
waiting to be cured by the Virgin.
RACHEL [to studio] Yes, I hear you fine… Hello… Yes, the other reporters have gone now. Put me on the air. [announcing] Friends of Emisoras Latinas, we continue here in Capernaum. At our side is Jesus Christ, who we hope will clear up a lot of things for us. Pardon me for insisting so much, Jesus, but we should take up again the question of miracles.
JESUS Well, let’s do that, Rachel.
RACHEL In our recent, disrupted press conference you were saying that the real miracle is sharing sharing food and the possessions we have, and changing our lives. But the people are looking for more sensational things. Sick people make pilgrimages to Lourdes, to Fatima and to other sanctuaries, hoping for their illnesses to be cured. And who can even count all those evangelical crusades that take place, where people ask for miracles and healings?
JESUS Just like in my own time, Rachel. People used to go to the pool of Bethesda and to the Temple of Jerusalem, and they used to pray and ask God to cure them.
JESUS And nothing.
RACHEL Our audience must be wondering if God is good, how hard would it be for him to cure a little old lady who prays to him and lights votive candles and asks to be healed?
JESUS You’ve already said it. God is good, and being good, he would have to cure that little old lady and all the little old people who pray to him. Don’t you think God would be very unjust if he cured just one of them and left ninety-nine uncured?
RACHEL Maybe that woman deserves it especially, because she prayed more than the others, because she had more faith.
JESUS No, Rachel, faith is not a coin for buying miracles – “Lord, I give you so much faith in exchange for a couple of miracles.”
RACHEL Well, then, let him cure all of them…
JESUS And since nobody wants to get sick, just as nobody wants to die, then God would have to become a doctor, do away with death, and go about curing everybody all the time.
RACHEL But there could be some exceptions, I don’t know, some special treatment for certain persons….
JESUS God doesn’t play favorites. I remember when that tower collapsed in Siloe and killed 18 Galileans. The ones who escaped being crushed said, “Thanks be to God that we were saved.” … But what about those who died? Were they worse sinners than the ones who survived? Did they not also deserve to live? No, Rachel, God doesn’t play favorites.
RACHEL Then, why did those 18 Galileans die?
JESUS Because the tower fell on top of them. Because the builders did a bad job in constructing the tower. Or maybe because a terrible wind blew it down.
RACHEL But whatever happened, whether natural disaster or human error, God could have stopped that tower from collapsing.
JESUS If God went about correcting all the sloppy work done by builders in the world, if God constantly devoted himself to changing the direction of the winds and preventing all the evils that befall us, as well as all the things we do wrong, then God would have to be a doctor and a master builder, he would have to take care of all the rains and all the harvests, he would have to be a judge to resolve all our lawsuits, … And what would happen? We’d end up not being real men and women; we’d be simply clay figures in God’s hands, puppets without souls, without freedom.
RACHEL In sum, you’re telling us that God doesn’t act in these cases, he doesn’t cure anybody, because he’d have to cure everybody? Is that it?
JESUS That’s it.
RACHEL Well, there’s a doubt that still plagues me, and surely many of our listeners as well. If that’s the case, then what’s the use of praying and asking God for health, for work, for …?
JESUS Can I ask you for something? Here in Capernaum they used to sell some really delicious fried fish. I want to see how they make them now. Will you go with me? Can I treat you? And we can continue our conversation.
RACHEL Sure, but you’ll be my guest. That way I can perform the miracle of sharing. [announcing voice] Rachel Perez in Capernaum, reporting to you through Emisoras Latinas and through the Internet at out web page www.emisoraslatinas.net.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
A CASINO MANAGER
For people with a sensitive conscience, the problem of evil in the world has always been the greatest obstacle to believing in God. The difficulty arises from a certain image that people have of God: if God is the creator of everything, if he is all-powerful and infinitely good, then why does he allow suffering, catastrophes, evil, and death to exist? Couldn’t he prevent all these things from happening? Couldn’t he act to ward off evils? Couldn’t he work miracles to free us from so much pain?
Sometimes metaphors and comparison can help us, not so much to find answers, but to give our questions a different orientation. The German theologian Eugen Drewermann does just that in the following reflection:
God cannot be conceived as if he were a man planning a train schedule. If you’ll allow me an image, I would suggest that of a casino manager who is not interested in having all the gamblers win, but who is intensely curious to know what is going to happen. I imagine God as one who is trying to move the world forward just as it is. If God exists, he has given up on knowing what the final destiny of this world will be. For the natural sciences, which are guided by the relation between chance and necessity, this is an appropriate image, one that allows us to understand why our earth is home to so many marvels and at the same time to so much suffering. The two things are intrinsically related. And that’s what we have to accept. And to the very end. We human beings have to learn to accept a world that is open and undetermined, because it is just such a world that allows us to be tremendously responsible for our acts.
Badly built towers
In Luke’s gospel (13,4) Jesus refers to a tower near Jerusalem which collapsed, killing 18 Galileans. A great many disasters would be avoided if those who “build towers” were responsible in their work and if all workers and professionals really performed well the jobs they are supposed to do. There is much avoidable suffering in the world. There is much suffering that we cause for ourselves and for others. Quite sensible and useful, then, is that prayer which has become very popular in various versions and in different settings: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.