Why Do Others Receive More Blessings?

If we’ve ever experienced that our parents love our brothers or sisters more than us, then we know how painful this can be.  Now, God is our Father, so why does He give some of His children more blessings?  Does He love some people more than others?  Eventually, we’re going to do a series on infertility and in vitro fertilization, because some couples ask why God gives others children but not them.  And some parents ask why their children are born with disabilities—why has God not given them certain blessings?

We ask these questions because one of the key features of today’s Gospel is that Jesus is a close friend with the three siblings.  Lazarus is called the one Jesus loves; the text says that Jesus loved him, Martha, and Mary; and when Jesus begins to weep, the Jewish people say, “See how he loved him!” (Jn 11:36).  Jesus is so completely human that He has close friends.  But He’s not close friends with everyone, and does not bring back to life everyone who dies—why?  Why does He do it only for His friends?

We need to realize that, though Jesus is close friends with the three siblings, He doesn’t raise Lazarus to life again for their sake, but for the sake of His disciples and the crowd.  If we look closely at the whole Gospel today, we see that Jesus does love everyone.  “Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.  For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  But let us go to him” (11:14-15).  The prior text tells us that, after Jesus heard that his friend was dying, He refused to go so that he would die, and so that he could raise Him up, not because of His friendship with them, but so that others would believe in Him.

Later on, when Jesus prays, He says, “Father, I thank you for having heard me… but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me” (11:41-42).  Jesus is sent by the Father to give everyone not just a resuscitation, but resurrection—what’s the difference?  Lazarus was dead for four days, and Jesus brought him back to an earthly life, meaning that Lazarus would eventually die again.  Resurrection, however, means a completely different kind of existence, where our bodies are glorified, can no longer suffer, and are radiantly beautiful.

This is the gift that Jesus offers to anyone who believes in Him.  He says to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” (11:25-26).  It’s faith that establishes a relationship with Jesus.  He loves us, but do we love Him?

There’s an honest article about a woman who was envious and saddened that Mother Teresa found love and beauty in her work, whereas she couldn’t do her own tasks with great love.  Her husband, however, reminded her that all gifts come from Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection.  So, even the smallest spiritual gift comes from His perfect love.  This clicked for her when she looked at the crucifix.  If someone received three gifts and she one, she wouldn’t feel less loved if she knew that it was perfect love that purchased that one gift for her.

This Wednesday until Sunday, we’re going to have The Man of the Shroud Exhibition at our parish.  I never used to believe in the shroud.  But then I learned that there’s no paint or dye on it, no brush strokes, no burn marks; the image is only on the uppermost surface; when it’s photographed, the negative gives even more detail, so it couldn’t have been a mediaeval forgery, because they didn’t know about photographic negatives then.

For our purpose today, it’s fascinating to know that there’s real human blood on it, type AB; the figure has a broken nose, one of the eyes is bruised, nail marks in the wrists and feet, and a wound on the right between the fifth and sixth rib, and the man has many wounds all over his body.  A hyperrealistic model of the man is seen here at an exhibit in Spain.

We know from the Gospels what Jesus suffered for us, but, when we see images, then St. Paul’s words become more real: “The life I now live… I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).  Jesus suffered death and rose again for all of us.  Perhaps, once we understand this, then we’ll accept that it’s the perfect love of God that has given us the blessings we have now, and, for reasons not known to us, He has not given us the same blessings as others.

We talked once about Nick Vujicic, who has no arms and no legs.  He wrote that, as a child, “I’d sit in my wheelchair on the playground wondering: If God really loves me like all the other children, then why didn’t He give me arms and legs? Why did He make me so different from His other children?”  (Life Without Limits, 48).  After years of bullying, depression, and thoughts of suicide, at the age of 15, when he read about the man born blind, whom Jesus healed, a wave of peace swept over him, and he realized that God knew why he was born without arms and legs.  Even if Nick didn’t know, God knew why and had a purpose.  God didn’t give him arms and legs for a reason.

Nick came to understand that, “No matter what happens to this body, I don’t care.  You can take my tongue out and take away my ministry; I’m still a child of God.  God still loves me.  God doesn’t love me for what I do.  God loves me because I’m his”.  Who better can teach the truth that our worth comes from the fact that Jesus loves us?  Nick has gone all around the world, telling high school girls that they’re beautiful as they are, speaking to sex slaves in India about God’s love, and telling people with disabilities that God has a plan for them, and his speaking is persuasive.  Instead of receiving a miracle, he realized that Jesus wanted him to be a miracle for others.

I love what Fr. Mike Schmitz says: “When people ask [the] question [if God loves some more than others], they don’t really want a theology lesson, they’re asking, ‘Does God love me?’  The answer is ‘Yes… He could not possibly love you more…  The challenge is going to be: How can I expand my capacity to take as much of that love into my heart, so that I can give it back, not only to Him, but to the other people He has placed in my life?”.

The best way to receive His love into our hearts is to imitate St. Martha’s faith and say: “Lord, I believe that You are the God Who loves me, and I trust in You.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>