Tuesday, July 14 ~ Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
Holy Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24 Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “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 in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Meditation: Wherever Jesus traveled he did mighty works to show the people how much God had for them. Chorazin and Bethsaida were areas that had been blessed with the visitation of God. The people there heard with their own ears the good news and experienced with their own eyes the wonderful works which Jesus did for them. Why was Jesus upset with these communities? The word “woe” means calamity, distress, sorrow, misfortune, misery, grief, or wretchedness. It is as much an expression of sorrowful pity and grief as it is of dismay over the calamity and destruction which comes as a result of human folly, sin, and ignorance. Why does Jesus lament and issue a stern warning? The people who heard the gospel here apparently responded with indifference. Jesus rebukes them for hearing the truth and yet doing nothing about it – they were called to conversion of mind and heart, and yet they let the teachings of Christ go in one ear and other the other!
Prayer: O God, who desired the Virgin St. Kateri Tekakwitha to flower among Native Americans in a life of innocence, grant, through her intercession, that when all are gathered into your Church from every nation, tribe and tongue, they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: If Jesus were to visit our cities, towns and neighborhoods today, what would he say? Would he issue a warning like the one he gave to Chorazin and Bethsaida? How would you respond to such a warning? Would you convert from your way of life? Or would you discount his teachings and, thus, his warning? Without question a conversion of mind and heart demands change — a change of heart and way of life. 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. In love he calls us to walk in his way of truth and freedom, grace and loving-kindness, justice and holiness. Do you receive his word with faith and obedience? Or do you discount the laws of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ because some call them “old fashioned” and not part of our “modern” lifestyle and culture? God’s laws and the teachings of Christ are timeless, and should never be met with doubt and indifference. Think about it – do you respond to Jesus’ call to conversion? If not, why not?