October 3, 2008
Friday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 10: 13-16
Jesus said to them, "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, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, 'Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.' Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have given me the beautiful gift of faith on the day of my baptism. I believe in the value of your redemptive sacrifice. Do not allow worldly concerns to clash with my lofty vocation. You know my weakness. I hope that you will give me every grace necessary to win heaven for myself and many others. I love you more than any creature. I thank you, and I humbly come before you as I begin this prayer.
Petition: Lord Jesus, keep me focused on my mission of love.
1. A Reminder
In Luke 9, John and James must have felt like midgets when our Lord rebuked them for desiring to petition heaven to rain fire and brimstone on the Samaritans. However, they quickly learned that the battle wasn’t to be fought with bazookas and cannons, but with humility and kindness. Perhaps James and John misunderstood this at first. Perhaps they started to confuse being humble with being mediocre. Maybe they were concerned that Jesus would be a doormat, and that he would expect the same of them. Jesus wanted his friends to be humble, but certainly not to be doormats or naïve victims. Jesus wakes them up with these forceful words.
2. An Object of Mercy
Capernaum saw Christ perform great miracles. There was a reason why so much mercy and marvel entered Capernaum: It was to invite the people to respond to Christ’s love. However, they responded to his outpouring of love and mercy with passivity, and evil forces were able to infiltrate into Capernaum’s cultural milieu. This passivity triggered our Lord’s fiery words, which are a mysteriously loving warning. Jesus was not angry at the people of Capernaum as John and James were at the Samaritans. He was concerned that the pearls of divine mercy and love he had given to them were uselessly cast under swine’s feet. Jesus hoped to revive their memory of them.
3. It’s Worth Listening
Few things might wear on a successful general more than trying to organize depressed and lifeless troops for battle. When a general says, “Pull out”, “Cover your flank”, or “Attack”, the last thing he needs to hear is: “We don’t feel like it”, “We can’t” or, “We don’t want to”. This seems to be why Jesus has directed such harsh expressions toward the inhabitants of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Their passivity and lack of response to Jesus’ mighty deeds was enough to prompt his harsh assessment of their fates.
Conversation with Christ: Christ our King, you want me to be your unwavering soldier. Help me to bear witness to you and to help the hearts, minds and wills of others grow in love for you. May I be an example of and influence in virtue and faith to those who surround me.
Resolution: Out of love for Christ, I will curb an impure or gossip-based conversation at work or school today.
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