Alas for Unrepentant Hearts!

Luke 10:13-16
Job 38:1,12-21;40:3-5 / Ps 139

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And 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 our sole recourse.

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the One who sent me.”
(Luke 10:13-16)

Reflection

Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were the towns along the lake of Gennesaret where our Lord performed many “mighty works”, like casting out evil spirits, healing the sick, paralytics and lepers, and even raising the dead back to life. Jesus also taught the people in these towns many of His lessons and parables. However, the leaders of the people in these towns, especially their scribes and pharisees, and high priests of the temple, refused to change their ways and yield to repentance. They were still cynical, if not indifferent to the Lord’s call. Jesus upbraided them for their hard hearts and skepticism. “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida!” (10:13) Here was God’s Word trying to save them from destruction, calling them to walk in His way of truth and freedom, grace and loving-kindness. But His words and wonders were met with doubt, cynicism and indifference.

What weigh the spirit down the most are an unrepentant heart and self-righteous pride. However righteous one tries to live his life, he can never attain salvation through any merit of his own. Only through God’s own initiative, and humility of dying on the cross for our sins have we been redeemed. We have nothing to feel righteous about.

When we finally submitted to Christ in repentance, He granted us the grace to see how deadly sin is, and so we have firmly believed repentance is what we most need. Freed from the chains of guilt, we now turn our efforts to the Lord’s service. After all, how can we show our gratitude for the blessings that God has given? Or how can our debts ever be repaid? When we consider the pains and death that Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins, we should feel shame if we ever turn back to our old ways again. Forgiveness is what we most need, and we can never have it unless we first learn to acknowedge our sins, and lift them up to God for His forgiveness. Sin can trap and paralyze us, and harden our hearts. Only in true repentance can we be healed and freed. If we ever had a glimpse of hell, we would tremble in great fear. No wonder “the fear of the Lord” is mentioned 32 times in the Bible.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making us realize what worthless sinners we would still be, if not for your great love that has given worth to our lives. Forgive us for all our sins, and through Your most precious blood, wash away our pride and and teach us also how to be more forgiving. Amen.

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