SPIRITUAL APATHY

Tuesday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time           

            Today’s gospel passage is quite intriguing. Jesus’ missionary discourse is completed and the Lord moves on. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, comes this stinging judgment against the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. They are compared to the great evil cities such as Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom. They are condemned because the Lord says that Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom did not see the great miracles that these towns did. If they had, those ancient cities would have reformed.

            The cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida ,and Capernaum were not the locales for steamy sexual immorality or violence. (Joseph Krempa) They were not known for that. The Lord condemns them for spiritual apathy – their failure to take him seriously enough to actually repent. Jesus rates the spiritual apathy of Capernaum as worse than the evils of Sodom.

            We can see something similar today. When there is a rumor of “supernatural phenomenon” occurring, people will travel for long distance to view it. Does it lead to conversion of life? Probably not.

            I like the examples Joseph Krempa gives in his commentary in today’s gospel passage. He says that thousands of people will travel to see the Holy Father. His presence can draw huge, even spectacular crowds. People will stand in line for tickets to a papal Mass. When, however, it comes to the Holy Father’s teaching on sexual morality, they will say that it is his opinion. When the Pope speaks about the obligation of rich nations to poor nations, people will say that it is his opinion. When the Pope speaks about care of the environment, people will say that is his opinion. When the Pope speaks against capital punishment, they will say that is his opinion. When the Holy Father speaks about social justice, they will say that is his opinion.

            It is easy to be impressed by charismatic religious persons; it is easy to be amazed by miraculous events. But it is also easy to miss the real grace and truth they bring us and to fail to let them penetrate our heart. It is like hanging holy pictures in a den of thieves. Let us ask for the grace that will enable us to let the gospel truths affect our life and every aspect of it.

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