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Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “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 in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to Heaven? You will go down to the nether world. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I praise you as our ancestors praised you: “Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth.”
- Woe to You: “Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.” In Bethsaida, Jesus healed the blind man, taking him outside the village and restoring his sight by putting his spittle on his eyes and touching him. After the healing he told the man, “Do not even go into the village” (Mark 8:26). Why did Jesus warn him not to return to the village? What could have happened to the newly restored sight of the man if he had? What happens after a retreat or conference when we return to family and work? Are we able to keep the fire of faith alive? We carry our faith in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7) and must, therefore, guard our minds, hearts, and souls from the near occasion of sin to the best of our ability while relying on the grace of God to continually purify us.
- Tyre and Sidon: “But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.” Tyre and Sidon were mentioned in the book of Joel as nations who corrupted God’s people. It is written about them, “There I will enter judgment with them on behalf of my people, my heritage, Israel; because they scattered them among the nations, they divided up my land. For my people they cast lots, trading a young boy for the price of a prostitute, exchanging a young girl for the wine they drank” (Joel 4:2-3). Yet Jesus said judgment on them would not be nearly as harsh as it would be on those in Israel who failed to repent after witnessing the miracles he worked among them. Of all the nations, God chose Israel through which to reveal himself: “And the Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). What a privilege it is to be chosen by God! Do we see our Christian faith as a blessing and gift from God, or do we feel entitled to it, or burdened by what we are asked to believe and how we are to act as disciples of Jesus?
- Day of Judgment: “And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to Heaven? You will go down to the nether world. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” It was in Capernaum that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and gave his Bread of Life discourse (John 6:35). Capernaum became Jesus’ hometown during his public ministry in Galilee. Jesus did not just visit Capernaum—he lived there, and perhaps despite his miracles, people took him for granted. We can do the same with the Holy Mass. We can become so accustomed to the ritual that we forget a miracle is happening in front of our eyes; bread and wine are being transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. St. Francis de Sales advises, “When you have received him, stir up your heart to do him homage; speak to him about your spiritual life, gazing upon him in your soul where he is present for your happiness; welcome him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of his Presence.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I do not want to become complacent in my worship of you and in spreading your Good News of salvation. I ask for the grace to pay attention during Mass, participate devoutly in the liturgy, and believe what you proclaim through your Church. I believe in you, Jesus. Help my unbelief!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will actively participate at Mass, thanking you for the gift of your Son in the Eucharist.
For Further Reflection: Visual reflection on the Healing of the Blind Man in Bethsaida.
Nan Balfour is an events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic Evangelization Ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him so as to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life. She is also a mother, writer, and speaker on Catholic topics.
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