Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent. ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Still, I tell you that it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on Judgement Day than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be raised as high as heaven? You shall be flung down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. Still, I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on Judgement Day than for you.’
Also today the Lord speaks very clearly about how crucial the encounter with him is! As human beings we must not forget that we are committed to the truth! To close ourselves consciously to the truth has great and far-reaching consequences, as Jesus clearly shows us! The judgment also consists in how we have dealt with the truth we have recognized; what we have been entrusted with and what we have made of it! In Chorazin and Bethsaida, and also in Capernaum, great miracles happened which should have led to the conversion of people, but they did not! Therefore Jesus reproaches them!
It may be an incomprehensible truth for some people that conversion to God, although voluntary, carries a serious obligation! This is because we are creatures, not autonomous human beings who created ourselves! All the foundations of our life have been given to us, and it remains a contradiction if we fail to grasp the deeper meaning of our existence or even fall into contradiction with it!
It is an inner obligation and challenge to follow the truth and to bring our lives into harmony with it! If we do not do this, then we live in an inner contradiction!
Jesus, the Son of God, not only proclaims the truth to us, but he says of himself that he himself is the truth (cf. Jn 14,6)! From this word the texts of yesterday and today become understandable: in the encounter with Jesus our life is decided in the whole dimension of his existence!
This gives a great seriousness to our ministry of proclamation and calls us to the obligation to reconcile the truth of proclamation with our personal life as much as possible, because how can people believe if we speak in one way but act differently!
Only the Lord alone knows whether a person has had sufficient knowledge of the truth of the Gospel to decide to follow it, or what obstacles there may have been in not having responded to the invitation of the Gospel! We cannot and should not judge this either!
But today’s words admonish us to become aware again and again of the great grace we have received from God to know the Gospel!