A Call to Repentance

Luke 10: 13-16
Bar 1:15-22 / Psa 79

…whoever rejects Me rejects the One Who sent Me.
(Luke 10:16)

Woe for all the pledges broken,
But worse for those without remorse;
From all our sinful paths taken,
Repentance is the sole recourse.

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Luke 10: 13-16)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus rebuked and condemned the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because although most of His miracles were performed in these places, the people there had not repented. Although they were awed by the wonders they had seen, and were impressed by the words of this “great prophet”, they still remained cynical, if not indifferent to the Lord’s call. Jesus here upbraids them for their hard hearts and skepticism.

How frustrating it must have been for Jesus, that after all He had done to proclaim the coming of His Father’s Kingdom – by casting out evil spirits, cleansing lepers, healing paralytics, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a few loaves and fish, empowering His disciples, and teaching the multitudes with His parables – most of the people went away either “greatly entertained” or determined to make Him their political savior. They failed to see His real mission – to cast out their indifference, cleanse them of their sins, heal them of their spiritual paralysis, and raise them to a higher level of consciousness – that of being God’s children under a New Covenant. The Kingdom had been preached in their hearing, but they had refused to repent.

Today’s Gospel serves as a warning to our generation too. Unlike the Jews in Jesus’ time, who had no knowledge about the Trinity, about faith and true repentance, we have already received so much in our strong Christian heritage. Our responsibility as the more informed followers of Christ is therefore much greater than those who are not as blessed. It is therefore incumbent on us to also proclaim Christ’s message of repentance to others who are still indifferent to the deadly consequences of sin. Like the people in Capernaum who wasted a great opportunity by not responding to God’s call through His Son who walked in their midst, there are still so many nominal Christians who are easy prey to the enemy. Shouldn’t we share with them the same opportunity that we have already received? Since we have received the grace to see how deadly sin is, and firmly believe that repentance is what we all need, we must now turn our efforts to the Lord’s service. His call to repentance is a clarion call for all Christians.

Lord God, forgive us for our complacency, when we take our faith for granted, and when we do not give the greatest miracle every Sunday – the celebration of the Holy Eucharist – the importance it deserves. Disturb us, Lord, and make us see how fortunate we are and how grateful we should be that we are blessed in our community. May Your Spirit reign in our hearts for all time. Amen.

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