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! If the seventy[-two] disciples sent on a mission have great responsibility to preach the Good News, giving it their undivided heart and unhindered steps, so the recipients of their message have the equal duty of welcoming the missionaries and accepting their message. If a town does not receive those Jesus sends, a severe judgment awaits it: the missionaries are to shake the dust of that town from their feet as testimony against it. Acceptance of the Gospel is first manifested through repentance of one’s sins and failings. In fact, the first announcement of the Gospel is a call to repentance: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15, emphasis supplied).
Following his instructions on mission, Jesus reproaches three unrepentant towns, all located by the shore of Lake Tiberias around which he exercises his public ministry. Chorazin is built on the hills above Capernaum and is a city of some importance. Bethsaida is a village raised to the status of a city by the tetrarch Herod Philip because of its numerous inhabitants and named Julias in honor of Julia, the daughter of Emperor Augustus. It is the hometown of Andrew, Peter, and Philip. Capernaum serves as Jesus’ home base, and many events in his public ministry happen there. Jesus reproaches these towns for not recognizing the “hour of their visitation.” Jesus’ activities are not just of a prophet. In him, the Messiah, the fullness of time has arrived. This calls for both welcoming and repentant hearts.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.