Are You to be Pitied?

10.5.18 Fri. wk. 26 – O. T.  (II)
Job  38: 1, 12 – 21; 40: 3 – 5
Luke10:  13 – 16

†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.”        The Gospel of the Lord.


Homily:  Fr. Mike Murphy                             Are You To Be Pitied?

“Woe to you, Chorazin !  Woe to you, Bethsaida!” (Luke 10:13-16)  We get the impression that †Jesus is very angry at these towns.  He keeps shaking His fist:  Woe to you!  Woe to you!   Shaking the dust of these towns from His feet – as He leaves.  He might very well have been angry and frustrated at their lack of faith.

What is interesting is that there is another translation in the Greek – for the phrase of: “Woe to you.”  The Greek phrase is:  “Ovai soi”, and it translates in another way as well – to mean: “Alas.”  Alas Bethsaida – Alas Chorazin!  It is less than anger, but more of an attitude of sorrowful pity; sorrowful pity for these towns.  †Jesus had done so much for the population of these towns.  He had cured their sick, He had preached the Good News to them and given them hope in desperate times.  Yet, it is likely that their response to His word and to these miracles and to all that He had done – was indifference – and so: Alas!  What’s the use?  What’s wrong with you?  †Jesus’ response was less anger and more of just pitying these people.

There was so much grace available in these towns that could have been theirs –– if they only had some trust and faith in †Jesus.  If they only had a change of heart – but they were not interested – they were bored with His message and so there was nothing.  No doubt, the people liked the gift of healing that they received from †Jesus.  Some of them might have received food when †Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish just a few kilometers south of these towns.  They liked ‘the free stuff’ – but they were unwilling to embrace and live the message.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit – blessed are they who mourn – blessed are the meek, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” (Matt.5:1ff)  These are the Beatitudes which He preached just a short distance south of these towns.  And †Jesus could probably only show pity for them – a pity that He felt deeply in His soul – because He loved them.

Let us look at the ‘Book of Revelations’ and recall the words that the Lord spoke to the town of Laodicea.  “I know your works – I know that you are neither cold nor hot – I wish you were either cold or hot – but because you are lukewarm – neither cold nor hot – I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16)   If we were on fire with the Lord’s words we could accomplish great things.  We could be saints.  Even if our heart was cold as ice to His words – at least there is someplace to go from there. There is still an opportunity for conversion – but being lukewarm – being indifferent – we are to be pitied.  We have heard the Good News – but it doesn’t change us – it doesn’t impact our lives – we are bored by it.  There is not a whole lot that †Jesus can do with that.

We have been blessed with so much in life.  God’s presence is seen all around us – but we are distracted by our own worries – responsibilities – political bickering – to even recognize all the goodness around us.  †Jesus is not angry with those who are indifferent in our culture – †Jesus is simply saddened by it – because they are missing out on so much.  Yes, †Jesus can feel saddened – even though He was in a glorified body – He still has His human emotions – so yes, †Jesus can be sad.  He can look at us with pity us and say: “I just wish you’d get it.  Why don’t you get it?”   †Jesus loves us so much – He just loves us to receive His grace.

At the Last Supper He said to His disciples: “If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love…I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and your joy may be complete.  This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you”. (John 15:10-12)  When we are indifferent to His love – and because we prefer the pleasures of this world – which excite us – His joy will always elude us.  We will go from momentary happiness to momentary happiness – from that deep spiritual joy to another habit – because we are so indifferent to His love and His word in our life.

So let us pray for the grace of humility and to live in holiness – to live the fullness of His love – to be generous and kind and merciful and caring to all people.  In this way – the love and grace of God – given to us freely – will not go to waste.  Do not be pitied by †Jesus.  The Lord wants to REJOICE over you.  Let us give Him reason to rejoice over us.  Fight the temptation of indifference in your life – what the ancient spiritual authors called “Acedia”.  That’s just indifference – I’m bored – the ‘noon day devil’ – bored with life – bored with Church – bored with everything.  You have to fight that temptation and fully embrace the way of †Jesus and produce fruits – thirty – sixty and a hundred fold.   Then we will be exalted to the heavens.

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.