Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When I was in the novitiate, I invented a fictional novice, let’s call him “Little Luke,” who I used to convince people to join me in activities. “If Little Luke was here,” I would say, “he would come to the movies with me!” It worked surprisingly well.
But in today’s Gospel, Jesus bemoans the way we often respond to calls for repentance. Despite abundant evidence, we choose the comfort of stasis over the uncomfortability of change. Jesus’ anger grows out of the fact that the life into which he invites us is abundant in grace, if only we would choose it. Despite presenting for us the option that Little Luke would choose, we refuse to say yes.
What part of your life might you invite Jesus to shake up today?
—Jake Braithwaite, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Northeast Province studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Come, Holy Spirit, breathe down upon our troubled world. Shake the tired foundations of our crumbling institutions. Break the rules that keep you out of all our sacred spaces, and from the dust and rubble, gather up the seedlings of a new creation.
Come, Holy Spirit, enflame once more the dying embers of our weariness. Shake us of our complacency. Whisper our names once more, and scatter your gifts of grace with wild abandon. Break open the prisons of our inner being, and let your raging justice be our sign of liberty.
Come, Holy Spirit, and lead us to places we would rather not go; expand the horizons of our limited imaginations. Awaken in our souls dangerous dreams for a new tomorrow, and rekindle in our hearts the fire of prophetic enthusiasm.
Come, Holy Spirit, whose justice outwits international conspiracy; whose light outshines spiritual bigotry, whose peace can overcome the destructive potential of warfare,whose promise invigorates our every effort to create a new heaven and a new earth, now and forever.