Gospel Reading – Matthew 11: 20-24
Then Jesus began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”
The Gospel of the Lord
The Mass intention is for Eddie Gallagher RIP
Even when Jesus worked miracles, sometimes the onlookers’ faith was not deepened: Some might have seen it all as no more than a performance by a ‘local talent’. Even more seriously, the result of a miracle was sometimes a crowd scene where the people were casting Jesus in the role of potential political leader who might help oust the occupying forces of Rome. The onlookers were not ‘going deeper’: they were not picking up the clues to the beyond-this-world destiny to which Jesus was pointing them, or to the true origin of his powers.
So we find in the Gospels moments – like here – when Jesus seems depressed at the people’s failure to adopt higher expectations and a better way of life. Prophets such as Isaiah recorded that once, wayward towns like Tyre and Sidon had mended their ways when God’s message was made clear to them – But not so towns like Chorazin and Bethsaida by the sea of Galilee, where Jesus had done his preaching. And the townspeople of Sodom (and Gomorrah) would have had a change of heart, and avoided destruction, had they been witness to miracles like those worked – in vain, as it turned out – by Jesus.
- Do I notice the ways in which the teaching of Jesus is actively having an effect in my life?