Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
Introductory Prayer: God our Father, you are my shelter against the burning heat of the day and the storms of life. I know and I believe that I can count on your help when I stumble, that you will catch me when I fall and guide my steps firmly in faith toward the promise of eternal life.
Petition: Jesus, help me to seek you with a sincere heart.
1. Blessings and Responsibility: With every blessing comes a degree of responsibility. The greater the graces received, the greater the responsibility we have in the eyes of the Lord (cf. Luke 12:48). The mighty deeds worked by Jesus in the towns of Galilee were not seen by everyone in Israel to say nothing of those peoples in other parts of the world. Therefore, those who see Jesus´ miracles have a greater responsibility than those who do not. Jesus reproaches them so as to awaken them from their stupor. Since the miracles have not moved them to a deeper faith, then perhaps the reminder that they will one day be answerable to God might. Sometimes the fear of punishment is necessary to drive me from my sins.
2. The Goal is Repentance: The goal of all of Jesus´ signs is to bring about a change of heart. Already in the Old Testament, the signs and wonders worked by God were intended to elicit a response of faith and trust from Israel. Jesus never works a miracle in order to impress, but rather to convert people back to God or to bring them into deeper union with him. The danger of missing the point is real. Like the inhabitants of the cities of Galilee I can begin to take the miracles and signs of Christ´s love for granted while failing to redirect my life from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. Like Herod, at times I want to be dazzled by Jesus´ miracles, but do not heed the call to conversion and repentance which they contain.
3. Reward or Punishment: “But I tell you, it will be more tolerable…”. We can learn a great deal from this strong phrase. Firstly we will be judged for our actions and our omissions. Since God sees and knows perfectly, the judgment will be objective; those who knew less will be judged less strictly. In other words, Sodom, Tyre and Sidon will indeed be judged, but according to natural law and not according to Christian faith, which they did not have access to at the time. We can also deduce that there will be different gradations in heaven and hell according to how well our actions corresponded to what we knew to be true and good. This knowledge should stimulate me to be more generous with God and to strive to be ever more centered on things that are above.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, open my eyes to the constant workings of your grace in my life. Never allow me to become complacent or to undervalue the tremendous gift of faith. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of my daily decisions. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: Today I will read nos. 1783-1785 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.