Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - "It isn't Fair"
There is no complete human answer to why life is unfair. Some of the unfairness can be explained by sinfulness, some by the abuse of human freedom. For the rest, it has to be faced with courage and faith , a belief that, in some mysterious way, pain and suffering have a part in God's plan. The first and the third reading from today's Mass are concerned with this inscrutable problem of the unfairness of human life.

Isaiah 50:4-9: Here we see God's servant, strong and loyal to Him; and yet he must pay the price of pain and suffering. Isaiah asks what kind of God is it that permits a faithful servant to suffer?

James 2:14-18: In this passage, St. James reminds us that a spirit of faith that cannot transform life's situations and does not express itself in practical deeds is a faith that is dead .

Mark 8:27-35: During the time of preparing the Apostles to continue His mission, Christ constantly tried to make them aware of His true identity as the Messiah; His kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, not a temporal mission. and that suffering was part and parcel of that ministry.

Point 1: "It isn't fair" - How often do we hear that complaint? How often do we, personally, make it? It isn't fair that little children should die of leukaemia; it isn't fair that young men and women should be killed in useless wars; it isn't fair that some people should starve whilst others are overfed; it isn't fair that some people are beautiful and talented, whilst others are plain and ordinary; it isn't fair to have worked hard and have so much of one's hard earned income drained off in taxes. It isn't fair that people, after a life time of work and careful management enabling them to retire and enjoy the fruits of their efforts, are suddenly cut down. No! We do not have to look far to find evidence that life is not fair.

Point 2: And the ever present question, why does God permit it? But the more we complain about it, the more we become like Job knocking our heads against a solid brick wall . The only answer that the Lord God gave to Job was simply, it is my world. I made it! Or Peter , who was severely rebuked by Christ because he had completely failed to understand Christ's real mission and the place that suffering would have in it. In Christ we have an example to draw strength from in our efforts to deal with the apparent unfairness of life. Jesus, during His life, encountered great unfairness, but He did not make suffering go away; He used it to achieve ultimate victory over sin and death. Mary, also, experienced more than her fair share of disappointment in life- the Seven Sorrows - The constant presence of saints and martyrs in the long history of the Church also enables us to see the trials of life in truer perspective.

Conclusion: We will never fully understand this mystery of why life can be so unfair; but we can at least understand that, if unfairness and suffering were part of Christ's life, there is no reason why we should  claim exemption. No more than Job or Peter, or anyone else who has complained of the way thing are, are we able to comprehend why things are the way they are. No doubt, had we been asked about it, we would have designed a completely different plan. But then there is the question - would what suits me, necessarily suit everyone else? Someday we will understand. In the meantime, we listen to the advice given by Jesus in today's Gospel - take up our individual crosses and follow Him

Scriptural reference: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. [1 Cor 13:12]