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."
Today is Tuesday the 16 July, in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life, Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day, and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
Today’s theme is what the Gospels call “hardness of heart”. It is that capacity of the human heart not to respond, to switch off, to stick to its guns against its own deepest instincts. Maybe it’s easier to sustain hardness of heart inside us when the whole city is doing the same thing. You wouldn’t want to be the first to crack or to let down your guard. Jesus tells us today just how dangerous it is to find yourself in this predicament, worse than any amount of immorality or irreligiousness.
Take an imaginary walk around Chorazin, meet some of the proud people there who refuse to take Jesus seriously... what is it about him they can’t take? What is it that they are holding on to?
As you listen again now, see if there isn’t something of Chorazin in your life. Maybe the people you imagined a moment ago can help you get in touch with it.
“Do you want to be exalted to heaven?” Jesus is reminding us of the promise His Father holds out to us, a promise that is still open to you if your heart is open to Him. Take a few minutes to deepen this prayer time in conversation with the Lord.