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Reproaches to unrepentant towns

Gospel Reading: Lk 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.”

Woe to you
To the modern ears, hearing someone speaking of “woes” against another person or group seems inappropriate, even “unchristian.” But “woes” are a common literary form that does not have to be taken as equivalent to our modern “curses.” They are like solemn warnings intended to awaken “sleeping” or complacent people.

Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are addressed these woes because they are the settings of Jesus’ mighty works and preaching, but they remain hardened, unrepentant.

Pope Francis, addressing the religious during the Year of Consecrated Life, expects those in this state to be prophetic, that is, people who should “wake the world up” by the witness of their lives. And, perhaps, what better way to begin the witness by a change of heart, conversion from sin.

Let us all heed the Holy Father’s call to awaken the world.

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