Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"When... stubbornness takes hold of one’s mind, how can sanctity ever flourish?

Don't give in to discouragement....... If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about people's opinions. Be obedient to truth. For with humble obedience, you will never be disturbed.-- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Gospel Text: (MT 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.”

Nobody enjoys a good scolding. It must however be especially painful to be upbraided by Christ, who loves us with his most merciful heart. There is simply no excuse, no immunity when one is reprimanded by Truth itself.

We also notice today in the gospel reading at Mass that Christ did not mince his words. He placed his audience face to face with truth. We too have to take stock of the manner we speak to others about Christ. Often, we too have to fight against our human respect to put our friends before eternal truths such as death and judgment. Pope Francis wittingly described St. Paul as a “trouble-maker”, he said: «May we not take refuge in an easy-going life or in an ephemeral structure (…). Paul, preaching the Lord, caused trouble. But he persisted, because he was a zealous Christian. He had apostolic zeal. He was not a man of compromise».

This came to my mind when I was reflecting over today’s readings, which are about missed opportunities of major significance. Christ preached in several towns, cured their sick, and directed them to a deeper understanding of God’s plan and the significance of life. However, the people living in Chorazin, Tyre, Sidon, and Capernaum were not open to his powerful message of the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God. They missed the opportunity to understand his mission, to change their lives and be part of the evolving Kingdom of God. Christ’s harsh words are an attempt to alert them of the importance of recognizing and joining his mission.

Let us not shun from our duty of charity. Let us receive humbly and responsibly God's call to conversion each day.

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