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All or Nothing
Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to see with the eyes of faith your mighty deeds. If it is your will that I am to carry your word to those I encounter today, keep my heart pure and my mouth obedient to your will. Amen.
- Time and Place: As we read in the Gospel stories of the many signs and wonders and miracles that Jesus performed, we might tend to envision that the crowds were persuaded to devote themselves to following Christ. But we see from this passage that Jesus knew that some of those who were firsthand witnesses of those signs and wonders had chosen not to change their evil ways—and Jesus knew what divine justice would be meted out to them. He warns all of us by the words of warning he spoke to them.
- Do We Listen?: Do you believe in miracles? At the core of the Christian faith, the answer to that question must be yes—that we believe Jesus truly was conceived by God, born of a virgin, died on a cross, and rose from the dead. All miracles! In his brief public ministry, Jesus made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the dead return to life, the lepers clean. If all of these things are true, then we must also believe that whatever in us is “unclean” can be healed and redeemed by Jesus.
- Do We “Disagree in Spirit”?: A great challenge for Catholics is to believe that their sins are completely forgiven in the sacrament of Reconciliation. In that miraculous encounter, if the confession is complete and sincere, the person who leaves the confessional has been forgiven, the sins wiped away. Not to believe that is to deny the power of the Lord himself—to “reject” him. Sometimes, strangely, we’d prefer to keep our sins around! But, more than anything, Jesus wants us to believe in him, and in the disciples and their successors who follow him. His warnings to the unrepentant could not be clearer. But, when we listen, repent, and truly believe, we have a beautiful gift of grace waiting for us.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you know exactly which habits keep me from fully embracing your miraculous healing touch. Help me to form new habits of faith that will bring me closer to you and to the healing you know I need.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will grow in my awareness of the miracles recounted in the Scriptures and in the lives of the saints to enliven my faith so that I may play a part in the growth of your Kingdom on earth.
For Further Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1430: Jesus’ call to conversion is a conversion of the heart, not merely the outward signs (“sackcloth and ashes”).
Dorothy Warner is a Washington, D.C., area writer, who also works in technology and has a family. When not gardening, volunteering, or baking artisanal breads, she enjoys spending time with her husband, grown children, and a large collection of family pets.
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