Tuesday, July 15, 2014
15th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 7:1-9
Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
Jesus began to denounce the cities in which he had performed most of his miracles, because the people there did not change their ways, “Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I assure you, for Tyre and Sidon it will be more bearable on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead! For if the miracles which were performed in you had taken place in Sodom, it would still be there today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The more you have invested time in knowing a friend, the more painful it is to realize that after all, you have no space in that friend’s heart. Jesus must have realized how futile his efforts had been to win the hearts of the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Of these places He said: “If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago…”
There is so much frustration between the lines that Jesus said. He felt so powerless over the indifference of people. Our God happens to be a “weak” God before man’s exercise of his freedom. Man’s free exercise of freedom ties God’s hands. Man’s freedom is God’s weakness.
Like the towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida, we too have received so many blessings not given to unbelievers. Some may rebut this by citing their experience of poverty. But poverty is relative. When you think you’re so poor, someone down there looks up to you for being better off. Human beings always think it is greener on the other side of the fence. But by reflecting on the miseries of others one realizes that he really has blessings that others covet.
The reason why we are not as grateful as we should is that we are slow in spotting these blessings. A movement called Pietism cropped up in the Lutheran Church in Germany in the 17th century. Popularized by that movement was this maxim: “Denken ist danken” (to think is to thank). This maxim helps us understand why hearts are slow in thanking God.
St. Paul advises us to thank God all the time for his indescribable gifts (2 Cor (9:15). This we can hardly do unless we keep counting our blessings. Today’s Gospel reading warns us in effect that by remaining unmoved and ungrateful we call upon ourselves this biblical rebuke: “Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.- Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness but makes us grow in your love and grace. Accept our prayer of gratitude which we lift to you though Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, born in Italy in 1218. He joined the Franciscans at the age of 22 and when sent to complete his studies, became an intimate friend of St. Thomas Aquinas. At 35, Bonaventure was chosen General of the Franciscans and healed the division caused by the different interoperations of the vow of poverty. Bonaventure died in 1274 while attending the Second Council of Lyons in France.