Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jesus Shatters our Worldview

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time     18 October 2015      Deacon John McMullen

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

He replied, “What do you wish [me] to do for you?”

They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”

Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"

"We can,” they answered.

Jesus Shatters His Disciples Worldview

The disciples just don’t get it, do they?

Jesus has repeatedly taught the disciples – and us – that the Son of Man must suffer, be rejected and be killed, and rise after three days. But the disciples didn’t understand him.

Jesus shattered their worldview.

And for the past weeks we have also witnessed ambition and jealousy among the disciples while Christ keeps explaining how they must die to selfishness and take up their cross.

Peter rebukes Jesus for mentioning suffering as a pathway of discipleship; Peter wanted Jesus to be a military messiah that would rout the Romans. But Jesus says no. It’s about the Cross.

Jesus shattered Peter’s worldview.

Peter James, and John witness Jesus in his Transfigured glory. They likely felt as if they had a privileged place among Jesus’ followers.

The disciples are discouraged when they are unable to perform an exorcism. And then they become upset that other followers of Jesus who could drive out demons.

The twelve become jealous and begin to pout and tell Jesus to stop the other disciples from performing good works.

Imagine their envy. They admit that they are jealous because those disciples of Jesus are not following them; they try and cloak their envy by saying that these others do not follow them. But the truth is out.

The nameless disciples were following Jesus and that is what gave them the authority to drive out the demons! That had to blow a hole in the twelve disciples’ egos.

But the twelve argue among themselves which of them was the greatest. They want to be seen! The boys have it all wrong about leadership in the kingdom of God. And these men are the first bishops in our church. [Just sayin’.] The Twelve have issues. They were so focused on themselves, their own importance, their own AUTHORITY!

And Jesus shatters their worldview.

The disciples fell for the temptations of the devil. They wanted to preserve everything they had, they wanted positions of power and wanted to be popular. They wanted glory, but they did not want the Cross.

Just last week we heard about the rich young man was possessed by his possessions and wealth and couldn’t let go of them in order to follow Christ. Then Jesus’ twelve disciples become worried about what they’re going to get out of following Jesus.


This sounds way too familiar. What’s in this for me? What about me!! Me, me, me! Me, myself, and I – the unholy trinity of selfishness.

Well, today’s gospel is another example of just how dull-edged the disciples were.

Believe it or not, James and John approach Jesus with a request. "Teacher, grant that in your glory we may sit at your right and left."

You read Mark’s gospel and see the stupidity jump off the pages. Was their request coming from selfish motives or a sense of self-importance? Or both?

James and John did not understand the cross, so they wanted to ignore it and go for the glory instead.

When the other ten disciples heard this, they became angry at James and John. Ah, there’s nothing like pride, envy, greed, lust for power, and jealous anger

Jesus said: “You HAVE NO IDEA WHAT you are asking.”

Jesus shatters their worldview.

Some of you might say the same of marriage or a particular profession or vocation in life you have chosen. If I knew then what I know now….

Trust me, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I allowed myself to be ordained as a deacon. If I knew then what I know now….

James and John and the others may have been feeling that tension in their own lives. I can see Jesus shaking his head. He loved them, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t the brightest pumpkins in the patch.

Some of them, like Peter, James and John may have been a little soft in the gourd, if you know what I mean. But the Lord still worked great miracles through them.

That’s great news. But he can only do that if we humble ourselves.

Those in authority sometimes lord it over others. But it cannot be that way with us. Rather, whoever wishes to be first will be the last.


Jesus shatters our worldview.

In the U.S., the idea of success is often based on the need to prove that “I am better than you.” Sometime relationships are based on competition and the need to win fights or arguments [or debates], and dominate others through arguing or violence.

The idea of being last in order to win is an absurd idea according to our world. 


But Jesus bore our pains and sorrows, endured our sufferings; was pierced through, nailed to the cross, yet by his wounds we are healed.

So Jesus’ vision for us as a community is one where the rich, powerful, and privileged reach down to help the poor, powerless, and unfortunate. Jesus calls us to be His Church, Members of His Body, where the weak support the strong, and the strong support the weak!

To be first and the greatest according to Christ is to serve the needs of others. Jesus’ challenge is a call for us to “servant leadership”.

Jesus reassembles our worldview.

Leadership in the kingdom is not about power, it’s not about possessions, it’s not about popularity. It’s about emptying ourselves so we can serve others in love.

As I look out, I see devoted, faithful parishioners who so often just show up to do the work necessary for our many minstries; the ladies who quilt, the lectors, the cantors, the servers, the members of who provide meals for those mourning the loss of a loved one and visit the sick and homebound, the many volunteers who assist in the RCIA, the St Vincent de Paul, the parish pastoral Council members, the choir, musicians, and many other volunteers, and the list goes on and on.

But our ministry can sometimes seem invisible. And we don’t always want to be invisible, do we? We want to be seen and heard.

But isn’t that what Jesus meant when he called us to be salt for the earth and the light of the world? Salt disappears once we put it on our food and it serves to bring out the best flavors. So we are called to bring out the best in others as we disappear, so to speak.

Jesus also called us to be the light of the world. Yet light is also invisible; light itself is that which illuminates all things; light enables us to see things, but we don’t actually see light itself. So, again, we get to be invisible as we help others shine.

In many ways you are the invisible members of the church that make this parish work.

So when we quit focusing only on ourselves, and take up our cross, then we will view the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ. He will reassemble our worldview. And we will realize that Jesus has become our worldview. We will only see Jesus

And in taking up the cross and becoming a servant, then we will receive glory.

And then we won’t be arguing about who is the greatest, or who is number one or number two, or at the right or the left.… instead we will seek to embrace the stranger, and love our neighbor as ourselves, being the light of Christ, willing to disappear from view so that others may shine. And therein lies the mystery and the glory of the cross.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Be Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only, For One Who Does Justice Will Live in the Presence of the Lord.

Reflection upon the Scripture readings for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

Today's Psalm is worth pondering in full.

Psalm 15:

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent
and dwell on your holy mountain?

2 He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart;
3 he who does not slander with his tongue;

He who does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
4 who holds the godless in disdain,
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may;
5 who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm forever.

Here we see that if we truly dwell with God, we will be changed and will be holy as Christ is Holy.

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

The Second Reading from James is clear: "He willed to give us

birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits

of his creatures. Humbly welcome the word that has been

planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the

Word and not hearers only."  

(Jas 1:17-27)

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

This shows that the grace of God comes to dwell within us, not simply to hover above us, or make us "appear" righteous, but truly transforms us, refashioning us into the image of Jesus Christ.

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the
Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their
affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

(Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27)

This is an important line as well.

TOO MANY well-meaning Christians claim that they are NOT religious, but only spiritual.

Well, religion is mentioned in scripture here and it is a
good thing, especially in how we treat the most vulnerable.

How orphaned can one be when he or she is unwanted in the womb of his or her own mother?!

The same goes for widows and widowers, the elderly, and indeed all persons.

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

Finally, the Gospel of Mark shows that "Nothing that
enters one from outside can defile that person; but the
things that come out from within are what defile."

Mark 7:1-23

In other words, it is not the outward appearance that
transforms the person, but rather the inward conversion,
the inner transformation, propelled by the Grace of God,
the Love of Christ, and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Be doers of the word
and not hearers only,
for one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.

Deacon John William McMullen
29 August 2015

* I welcome comments.

If you use my material in your own homilies or other writings or blogs, kindly reference my work.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lord, to whom else shall we go?

Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B    23 August 2015

Here are the Scripture readings for the day
Twenty-First Sunday readings Year B

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh….”

It would seem that these are some of the oldest words of wisdom in all of human literature. Who among us has not been affected by a son or daughter or sibling leaving the homestead and moving on to start a new life in marriage?

And yes, there will be sorrow when either we choose to follow the Lord where he calls or those we love choose to follow the Lord where he calls them:

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
those whose spirit is crushed He will save.”

This leaving forth will require us to say to those around us: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” It is countercultural to follow the Lord.

And, yes, it is countercultural and sometimes even counter intuitive to follow the Lord into the depths of marriage, even the difficult days of desperation and heartache. Yet St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is clear:  Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ…. …So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies…..

This teaching of Christ, dying to self, is particularly felt and experienced in marriage. Even Paul himself refers to it as a mystery, indeed as the mystery of our faith, the dying to self as the two become one flesh. Let’s face it: marriage is hard work, and so is parenting. It is so often a series of dyings and risings.

Paul said “this is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.”

In our world today, with the tragedy of Tinder, Ashley Madison, hook-up culture, and rampant pornography, is it any wonder why marriage is so threatened? (* see links below)

St. Paul’s teaching on the holiness of Matrimony in his day was as countercultural as it is today.

And Jesus’ teaching today on the necessity of receiving his Body and Blood is just difficult, as is evidenced by the crowd’s response:  “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?”….

Jesus words in today’s gospel challenge and shock us today just as they did his first century hearers.

In our times, too many people have compromised on the meaning of both Holy Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist.

For too many “Christians” marriage can mean whatever we decide it means, such as a symbol of a union between two persons, but one than can easily be dissolved, and one where children are considered either an option or simply one more consumer good among others.

And as for the Eucharist, many Catholics no longer believe that the Bread and wine are transformed into the very Body and Blood our Christ, but is merely a symbol, a nice token of a bygone era.

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him” (John 6:53-56).

By the way, Jesus did not change the meaning of his words on the Eucharist. He did not say, “Come back, I was speaking symbolically.” He asked "Does this shock you?"

As a result of Jesus’ teaching [on the Eucharist], many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

When Christ asks each of us today:
“Does this shock you?
Do you also want to leave?” 
How will we respond?

[see the hook-up culture  tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating  and
Russell Brand (yes) on the destructiveness of pornography Russell Brand on the effects of Pornography (short version)   or the longer version: *caution, scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey, longer version ]
Amazingly, both Vanity Fair and Russell Brand are truly insightful on their critique of contemporary culture. Fascinating.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Is God Real?

God is real.

What does that mean? " Him we live and move and have our being," the Greek poet Aratus wrote. 

Aristotle pointed out that since all things are alive and in motion, then there had to be a first source of life and a first mover, the unmoved mover, the uncaused cause. Though there were many Greek gods, Aristotle argued that there has to truly only be one prime mover who is unmoved, who is the the source of all motion and life. Nothing can bring itself into being; all things are contingent. 

Therefore, there had to be Something before all other things came into existence. The Big Bang theory would indicate that at one time (for the lack of a phrase) there was no time, yet from the moment when everything came into being, that is the beginning of time. Granted, this is a deistic stance that admits of God, but not necessarily that God (or the gods) care anything for the human race, or any of the created order. That would have to be revealed by this unknown God, the great unmoved mover. So much for Athens.

Meanwhile, in the land of Canaan about 1925 BCE there was a man named Abraham who believed there could only be one God. His story and the story of his ancestors reveal that this One God began to reveal Himself to their people. For the People of Israel, this God was very real for He continued to save them and care for them. One of the poets of Israel wrote: "O Lord... it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother's knew my soul, my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret and molded in the depths..." (Psalm 139.13-16) and elsewhere: "O Lord, when I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep him in mind, mortal man that you care for him? (Psalm 8.4-5) [to be continued...]

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B    5 July 2015            Deacon John McMullen


Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

Don’t we know some people, who cannot see the obvious? How many of us know people who can only see the negative?

A few months ago areas of Indiana got several inches of rain, but with the gift of rain came strong winds and electrical power was cut off to many people for nearly twelve hours. A few people could only complain that it took the power company several hours to restore power, but they never rejoiced in the fact that it rained!

In Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables, the main character Jean valJean, a paroled prisoner encounters a holy priest and has a life changing experience. However, because Jean violated his parole, the police chief, Inspector Javert, can never accept the fact that Jean valJean had become a new man.

In fact, Javert cannot imagine living in the same world with Jean valJean, so Javert kills himself. He could not accept the fact that God’s grace could work in a the criminal’s life, so he rejected the God of love and mercy and rejected his own gift of life because the god of law and order turned out to be a God of mercy and justice.


In today’s gospel, Jesus the prophet is too much for hometown to handle. The main role of a prophet was not to predict the future, but to interpret current events in light of God’s Word, and to help the people see things from God’s point of view. Many people refused the prophet’s vision.

But the prophet is not called to success, but to faithfulness to God. The prophet will often find himself in a face-off with hard-faced, stiff-necked people who reject the reality of the good news of God’s grace.

St. Paul encountered opposition in his ministry.  What exactly was the “thorn in Paul’s flesh”? No one is sure, but whatever it was, it kept him humble. And as a result Paul had great empathy for others because he knew what it was like to suffer. Three times – over and over and over again he begged the Lord to remove this suffering, but it remained.

Don’t we all have something like this? Some kind of an addiction or difficulty or illness in our lives that just won’t go away? So when we can name that thorn, offer it back to God, but entrust yourself to Christ and his cross. We might be reaching our perfection because OF the thorns.

God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Oftentimes when we are humbled, we become open to God’s power and grace. This is the mystery of faith: “It is when we are weakest that we are strongest.”

Ezekiel was content to proclaim the Word of God whether people believed him or not; he was faithful to his mission because the Holy Spirit was within him.

St. Paul was content with all kinds of suffering because he knew that Christ was with him.

Jesus was content with rejection and even death because he knew that He was the beloved Son of the Father and filled with the Spirit.

Because of our suffering we can become great saints!

We are called to be content and finding God’s peace in the midst of our suffering. As the Psalmist prayed: We must keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, and pray for mercy.

Either we drop our egos and attitudes as did the prophets and the saints and see things as Christ sees things or else we will end up in a staring contest with Jesus, waiting to see who will blink first. [Good luck with that].

No one in Nazareth, or anywhere, ever denied any of Jesus’ miracles. What the people did deny was the power that his miracles had upon their lives. They denied the love and grace that Jesus offered to them. And this is likely the saddest rejection of all: apathy.

Jesus really didn’t mean anything to them. They knew his mother and cousins and, besides, he was a common man, a carpenter and stone cutter. He was no one special – even though they could see with their own eyes that he was much, much more.

And because the people of Nazareth could not place any faith in him, the people refused to allow Jesus to impact their lives, to affect their mindset, to influence their actions, or to change their minds.

And because of their lack of faith, he could work no mighty miracle there, apart from curing a few sick people.

Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith in Nazareth.

Yet Jesus takes us by surprise, ready or not, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

What is Jesus amazed with in your community?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Does Everything Really Happen for a Reason?

Over the years the phrase: “Everything happens for a reason,” has been tossed around as if it is a scriptural truth. It is not.  And it is not sound Christian theology. It smacks of predestination and a belief in fate.

In the face of a tragic death I have heard people say: “God needed another angel in heaven.” (By the way, people do not become angels) “It was God’s will.” “It was her time to go.” “God is trying to teach us something.” “Everything happens for a reason.”
None of these are scriptural or theologically sound. And most people experiencing grief or going through a difficult time DO NOT find those words consoling or helpful. In fact they can be very hurtful and infuriating. I realize people are intending to comfort or help someone find a meaning to the suffering, but in reality these statements will not work.

We want easy answers to life’s difficulties. People often say these things when they have absolutely no idea what someone is experiencing. Or else they simply say them because they have not thought them through to the logical conclusion that it implies that God is not a God of love, but a bizarre god who is so unpredictable that he will kill and maim but all in the name of being good to us. (Think it through). This completely removes God’s grace and love from the picture of faith, and certainly leaves us without hope.

When a man is murdered, if someone says to the widow, "Everything happens for a reason,” she may well reply, yes, the man pulled the trigger and killed my husband.  But God did not will evil. God does not will evil.

Or what about my friend who committed suicide? Please do NOT tell me that God planned that, or that it happened for a reason or that it was supposed to happen. If you do say that, then either you do not believe in free will or you believe in fate. Unfortunately what it seems to imply is that you do not believe in the goodness of God.

When an Evansville man killed a man in a drunk-driving accident, no one dared tell the widow and the fatherless children that the death of the husband and father was supposed to happen. It would have been hopelessly insensitive and cruel.

When the terrorists attacked on September 11th 2001, we heard people say, “everything happens for a reason.” Seriously? This is sadistic to suggest that God somehow helped mastermind and plan this event where over 3000 people died. No one would say that to the survivors of 9/11.

Or in the face of a Tsunami or a tragic earthquake, it would be best if people did not try and explain how God had a hand in disaster and instead simply pray for the victims and help whenever and wherever they can.

Christians who do not reflect on this simplistic answer – “everything happens for a reason” are saying, in essence, that “somehow, someway this is the best plan for you, God did this to you, but it is for your own good.”

Now many theologians, not simply me, point out that this is a short cut to faith. But, in fact, this whole notion destroys faith and hope, and ultimately charity. (For if everything happens for a reason, then why should I try and help the poor? Help the sick? It’s all God’s will. Right? Who am I to interfere with their destiny? Using this line then enables us to excuse ourselves from helping anyone).

I am in no way saying that good things cannot happen or that by God’s grace we may be in a certain place at a certain time, but that is a gift of Providence.

What I want to prevent is anyone thinking that we are pawns on God’s chessboard. We are not. We are not puppets on a string. We are not marionettes in God’s magic playhouse. We are not mere robots for God’s amusement. We are creatures with an intellect and a free-will and a soul. We are capable of choosing good or evil.

Yet we still hear people say “God took him” or “God took her.” Or what about those thousands and thousands of Japanese who died in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami? I have heard people say: “Everything happens for a reason,” or “God’s trying to teach us a lesson about how fragile life is.” or what about this one: “God punished Japan for attacking Pearl Harbor.” This is clearly ignorance unparalleled. How in the world could we have gotten so far away from the truth? God never wills an evil. God does not inspire someone to murder or get drunk and kill someone for some greater purpose. God does not mastermind an earthquake.

Jesus’ answer to the question why do bad things happen is NOT because God zaps people. It is because good people and bad people get hurt; we live in a fallen world. People do bad things. Storms do what storms do. Hurricanes do what hurricanes do. Tectonic plates move and cause earthquakes. Bad things happen. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.

Are you saying that God kills people? Of course not. But if we go around saying “Everything happens for a reason” then God must be responsible for every evil act as well as every good effect.

Hopefully by now you can see the reason why I have taken the time to passionately write about this “everything happens for a reason” idea because it is “bad” theology, if we can even call it theology.

Good things CAN come out of the bad things that happen in our life. And God gives us the opportunity to respond in a positive way. But if everything happens for a reason is God’s reason, then that means that God is a terrible God who is seeking to destroy our lives, this god is an unpredictable monster. The god Moloch had to be appeased with human sacrifice. If we go on believing that everything happens for a reason, then eventually we would have to say we have no free will but are mere puppets of God in some celestial toy theatre.

But we believe God IS with us. Immanuel means God is with us. God will redeem our suffering, just like Jesus’ death was transformed into the Resurrection. God can turn our pain and sorrow to joy. This is the heart of the Paschal Mystery!

Saint Paul wrote: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Nowhere in scripture does it ever say that God is behind everything that happens. If this were so, then humans would not have free-will.

Evil is evil. Bad is bad. But we know that if we are in Christ, then even the worst suffering cannot keep us from God; nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Again, Saint Paul wrote: “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? … in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8: 35-39).

This is what we need to say: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus,” rather than “everything happens for a reason.”

Some of you might think of the man born blind man in John’s gospel chapter 9. The disciples ask “Whose sin caused his blindness? Was it his sin or his parents’ sin?” But Jesus replied: “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

Blindness is not good. Jesus says that the man was simply born blind. But God’s glory can be revealed in the blind man. But God did not make this man blind so that Jesus could one day happen along and give him eyesight.
We believe that even the worst suffering imaginable CAN bring forth abundant life.
The Resurrection of Christ followed Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death on the Cross.
We believe that New Life CAN spring forth from suffering of any kind.
We believe that Goodness CAN come forth from suffering, death, and destruction
God’s Grace is given to us when we suffer and when we grieve in a spirit of faith.
Regarding human violence we know that God has given humans a free will. It is a sin when one uses his free will to do harm. Evil is a lack of good.
Thomas Aquinas commented on The Problem of Evil. Since God is entirely good, He permits evil in his creatures because he is good and he may even bring forth good from evil. It is due to the infinite goodness of God that he permits evil; yet from evil he can bring forth good. God never wills evil as a means or an end, but can use it as a means to the end for good
Why does evil exist? To this question… no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, sin, and the patient love of God…the Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments, and his call to a blessed life. As the Catechism assures us: There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures…
From the greatest moral evil ever committed—the rejection and murder of God's only Son, God, by his grace that "abounded all the more," brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.
In the final analysis, things may not happen for a reason, but we can find a reason to go forth in faith when bad things happen.
"For we know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).