DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: “WOE TO YOU CHORAZIN”
Gospel of Tuesday, 15th week in Ordinary Time,
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 nether world. 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.
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission).
21-24 Summary of ideas.
- Chorazin and Bethsaida were thriving cities on the northern shore of the lake of Gennesaret, not very far from Capernaum.
- During his public ministry Jesus often preached in these cities and worked many miracles there;
- in Capernaum he revealed his teaching about the Blessed Eucharist (cf. Jn 6:51 ff).
- Tyre, Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, the main cities of Phoenicia – all notorious for loose living -, were classical examples of divine punishment (cf. Ezek 26-28; Is 23).
- Here Jesus is pointing out the ingratitude of people who could know him but who refuse to change: on the day of Judgment (vv. 22 and 24) they will have more explaining to do: “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” (Lk 12:48).
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: HAVE YOU GIVEN GOD FULL CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE?
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus laments that in spite of the miracles He had shown, the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum did not believe. He carried the message of salvation to these towns but He was spurned.
Many of us think we need to be in control. We think we are in control. Yet, we are not.
TOPIC 2: Are we repentant of our sins and bring others to repentance, too?
Today’s gospel refers to Tyre and Sidon, two cities that the Old Testament prophets always threatened with ruin and destruction because of their disrespect for God. However, Jesus compares them more favorably to the lake-towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida.
Chorazin and Bethsaida saw Jesus perform miracles and heard his teachings, and yet, they ignored Him. Thus, compared to Tyre and Sidon, which did not have the same direct blessings from God, Chorazin and Bethsaida will be condemned on judgment day.
Capernaum, where Jesus lived and was the base for his ministry also rejected Him. All these three places witnessed the great deeds of Jesus but did not believe. He said that if the people of Sodom could have witnessed His miracles and heard His preachings, they could have been saved. Today, the places Jesus mentioned are non-existent. All ruins.
Jesus warns us that those who have received the good news of salvation and yet do not repent for their sins will receive greater punishment than those who have not.
A Sunday school teacher asked a class what the word “repentance” means. A little boy put up his hand and said, “it is being sorry for your sins.” A little girl also raised her hand and said, “it is being sorry enough to quit from sinning.”
A man was in the hospital and was about to die. The nurses called in the hospital chaplain and asked him to give the man the sacrament of extreme unction. The man refused. He said he was an atheist and it would be foolhardy for him to repent and believe in Jesus when all his life he did not believe in Him. He could have been saved, according to the chaplain, recalling the man who was crucified beside Jesus and at the moment before dying, asked Jesus to bring him to paradise.
A schoolgirl was saved and was asked, “What were you before?” She said, “A sinner.” Then she was asked, “What are you now?” She answered, “A sinner.” They asked, “So what’s the difference?” She answered, “I was a sinner RUNNING AFTER sin. But now, I am a sinner running FROM sin.
The words of Jesus applies to us all. We may despise criminals and those who have not lived righteous lives or are worse off than us in both economic and spiritual terms. But if we grew up under the conditions that these criminals grew up in and exposed to the bad influences of their lives, perhaps, we would be far worse than them.
Remember the words of Jesus, “Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given.” (Luke 12:48)
For us who know and have believed, let us examine ourselves and our sinful tendencies. Do we strive to quit from our sins or do we continue to expose ourselves to sin?
And are we prone to judge others who are “worse off” than us? If we can only find goodness in the filthiest of hearts, if we can see a redeeming factor in the lives of those we are trying to judge and condemn, surely, we deserve a second chance in the eyes of our Lord.
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