Daily Reflection for Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Peace and Blessings Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s scripture readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the references are:
First Reading: Exodus 2:1-15a
Responsorial: Psalm 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34
Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done” Matthew 11:20
Jesus lived in Capernaum much of the time. The towns of Chorazim and Bethsaida were only a short walk away. He knew the people – the folks at the synagogue, the baker of his bread, his friends and neighbors. They had the privilege and opportunity to witness miracles that Jesus performed.
But privilege and opportunity bring responsibility. While the locals were awestruck when Jesus cured the paralytic (Matthew 9:8), their religious leaders openly denounced Jesus. And there were other supposed “prophets” and “healers” who caused confusion for the people. Jesus didn’t fit their idea of a messiah. He was just one of the guys from the town! How many of the village leaders, scribes, and Pharisees did it take to speak against him to undermine the villagers’ confidence in Jesus? We aren’t told, but we know that Jesus was treated dismissively and, as a result, attracted few followers. The people near Capernaum wasted privilege and opportunity. In parting, Jesus denounces Capernaum: “You will go down to the netherworld” (Matthew 11:23).
“Wait . . . me too?” says the baker. “I’m a simple man. I like what Jesus says. Maybe I believe him, but what can I do? I’m one man . . . with a family to care for. And my leaders disagree with Jesus! Am I supposed to ignore their voices? Whom am I to believe? I don’t see others putting themselves in jeopardy by going against our leaders! Come on . . . I don’t deserve to go to the netherworld. What do you expect of me??? This isn’t fair!”
I can equate my environment today with that of Capernaum. I’m endowed with great opportunity and privilege. I can believe the words of Jesus and work to help feed, heal, and teach his followers. Together we can work miracles. I can stand firm for what I believe and know is the message of Jesus. Or I can be like the baker.
The most difficult thing Jesus did may not have been his time on the Cross. It may have been his decision three years earlier to live a very anti-cultural lifestyle. Jesus saw value in every life – the poor, the sinful, the homeless, the widowed, the leper. He didn’t aspire to personal wealth or power. He sought only to love – and help – everyone. He calls us to try to be like him.
Like the residents of Capernaum, we’ve heard Jesus call us to his mission. How have I responded? Have I repented for what I’ve not done – and tried to correct it? Or do I rest on my excuses? How will our culture be judged? Am I so much a part of that culture that I’ll be judged along with it?
And at the end, I pray that Jesus’ final words of forgiveness … “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” … apply to us, the people of Capernaum, and those who crucified him.
Peace, my friends,