06 Oct 2017: Alas for You

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Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Bar 1:15-22, Gospel: Lk 10:13-16

Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! The area which Jesus traveled or covered in the three years of his missionary life was small. It measured only few square kilometers along the Sea of Galilee around the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin. It was precisely in this very small space that Jesus worked the majority of his miracles and presented his discourses. He has come to save the whole of humanity, and he hardly went out of the limited space of his land. But, tragically, Jesus realized that the people of these cities did not want to accept the message of the Kingdom and were not converted. These cities stood firm in the rigidity of their beliefs, traditions and customs and did not accept the invitation of Jesus to change their lives. Alas for you, Chorazin; Alas for you Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes”. Jesus compares the two cities with Tyre and Sidon which in the past were unyielding enemies of Israel and constantly ill-treated the people of God. And now Jesus says that even these same cities, symbols of all the evil done to the people in the past, would have already converted if so many miracles had been worked in them as in Chorazin and Bethsaida. Jesus says that if the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon had witnessed all that Jesus had said and done, they would have repented long ago, just as the pagan people of Nineveh had repented at the preaching of Jonah.

These are a very strong words used by Jesus towards the people of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin. But what does it mean to us today? As Christians and Catholics have we really repented and believed in all that is being preached by Christ through the gospel? Can any one of us say that we have really changed internally and became a better person because of the teaching of Christ? It requires lots of humility, courage, commitment, patience and perseverance to accept the truth and to adhere to it by changing our lives. It is a challenge proposed to all followers of Christ. If we don’t live by it, we would have to listen to very same words of Jesus: ‘Alas to you’. But if we live by it, then we would hear Him say: ‘Enter into the joy of your master’ (Mt 25:21).

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