Jesus said to them, “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, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10:13-16)
Today’s scripture is almost a lament from Jesus. He had visited these communities, worked miracles, preached, brought them a vision from heaven. But they turned away. In return, an so aggrieved Jesus issues the stern warning that he does at the end of this scriptural passage.
What do you think would happen if he visited our communities? Our homes?
Would he find people who believed? Who lived out his words in our daily life? Would he find fervor or a half-hearted faith or no faith?
I think he would find a handful of people with fervor for his words and a desire to live them in their lives. I think he would find a far greater majority who have a halfhearted faith. I think he would also find a determined and passionate group who not only live their lives in darkness but actively seek to destroy his vision of a kingdom on earth. All of us who follow Jesus must realize that the darkness of those who seek to destroy his word comes from us.
WHAT? You say. Let me explain.
The darkness we provide comes not from a deliberate action on our parts. It comes from our not confronting the darkness.
It comes from not visibly living out his words. It comes when so many of us are so tired of seeing the inhumanity of man that we construct our own bubbles of life. Its saying, “look let me construct a bubble around my family and those I love. That will be my daily retreat and, in that bubble, I will IGNORE the darkness.”
Just as blood courses through our veins so does our faith. Our faith is a constant presence, a gift from God. We can’t ignore its role in our life, for it is life giving.
Either God’s word will be received or rejected. “Whoever listens to you listens to me,” Jesus says. “Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Jesus is calling all of us to ponder whether we really listen to him or reject him, especially as he speaks to us through his emissaries, the apostles, and through other faith filled Christians.
This means that we are not only God’s disciples but God’s messengers. With our example, our deeds, and our words, Jesus is continuing to spread his Gospel in the world; he speaks through us. This is our core identity as Christians — disciples who are missionaries, followers of Christ who are also his messengers. But this also means that he continues to speak to us through our brothers and sisters in Christ.
He also has us recognize that one of the greatest gifts we give to others is the opportunity to receive Jesus through receiving us, which is why we go out to evangelize.
We can choose to follow God’s call when we hear it in the Gospels, in our conscience, through the compassionate acts of another, in the teachings of the Church—or not.
We can choose to accept God’s invitation of mercy as often as he makes it–and he makes it unceasingly–or not. True, our freedom is not absolute. It is conditioned by many factors, but it is still present. And what we do with it, how we respond to the challenges, opportunities, and invitations that God sends or permits, determines the kind of person we will be.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission. Let me be an emissary of your love.”
God’s word is life-giving and it saves us from destruction – the destruction of soul as well as body. Jesus’ anger is directed toward sin and everything which hinders us from doing the will of God and receiving his blessing. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and mercy, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with faith and submission or with doubt and indifference?