Woes to Unrepentant Cities
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In today’s gospel Jesus pronounces woes against Chorazin and Bethsaida, two Galilean towns that rejected his message. These towns know Jesus’ message but do not display the expected conversion of heart. He compares them to Tyre & Sidon, two Gentile towns north of Palestine on the Mediterranean coast. These Gentile towns unlike the people of Galilee had no direct opportunity to hear and believe in Jesus. Capernaum was where Jesus stayed but the people rejected him even after hearing his message and witnessing his miracles.
Jesus shows that some sins, such as refusing salvation, are greater than sexual improprieties of Tyre & Sidon. The call to repentance that is a part of the proclamation of the kingdom brings with it a severe judgment for those who hear it and reject it. Repentance is part of the proclamation of the Kingdom. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge his sins and to repent cannot be at peace with God nor be welcomed into the kingdom in his sinful condition.
The disciples of Jesus carry his authority wherever they go. They are empowered to speak and to be received in His name and in the name of the One who sent Jesus, God the Father. Just as Jesus met with hostility and rejection, so too will his disciples. Hearing the word of God preached by the disciples is to hear the words of Jesus; hearing the words of Jesus is hearing the words of God the Father. To reject the disciples is to reject both the Father and the Son. Jesus confers an even greater share of his royal, priestly and prophetic authority upon the apostles before his Ascension.