Reproach for Repentance

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Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 11:20-24

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 Jesus, let me never tire in spirit or become interiorly resistant to see where your love is calling me to ask for your forgiveness. May my help and my salvation be always to lean more deeply upon your mercy and to be more spiritually aware of what in my life causes your heart sorrow. 

Encountering Christ: 

  1. Repentance: Throughout this discourse, we can detect in the voice of Jesus a note of exasperation. His heart is lamenting the unrequited love of stubborn hearts unwilling to repent; the ingratitude, indifference, and rejection of such hearts in this moment of anguish. He finds no comfort in hearts who betray him and cannot see what mighty deeds he has done for us.
  2. Rejection and Remorse: The spiritual battle going on in our hearts is real. There are difficulties, struggles, and hardships that we have to conquer to be faithful in courageously living for Christ’s Kingdom of justice and love. We are all caught up in this drama. While following the Lord I have fallen and turned away from him and resisted his will. At times, I have said “no” out of fear, defiance, and greed. Lord, I come to you and humbly ask for your forgiveness and mercy. Forgive me my sins. Do not let me turn away from you.
  3. Judgment Day: The hour is coming, our hour to be welcomed into the eternal embrace of the Father. It will also come with a settling of accounts where we will see the truth of our lives in the full light of God’s merciful love. Jesus’s passionate exhortation invites us to look into our hearts now, to imagine our final reckoning. This practice can be a good remedy against any inclination we have to pass judgment on others. It can help to soften the harshness or stubbornness of our hearts.

Conversing with Christ: Lord, be with me throughout this day, guiding my mind and heart to see the wonders of your actions, the great things you are doing in my life. Grant me the courage to face whatever happens today by responding in a way that pleases you so that I can see the Father’s plan for me more clearly. Open my heart and mind to be attuned to your presence both within me and through those around me today.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be quick to seek forgiveness of any fault or harm I may cause you or others and I will make a special effort not to judge others, asking for your grace to dismiss any harsh thoughts or criticisms. 

For Further Reflection: Delve deeper into the life of St. Kateri Tekawitha with the Retreat Guide A Virgin’s Courage, a free, do-it-yourself retreat available in video format, audio, and PDF download.  

Written by Lucy Honner, CRC.

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