Tuesday of Week 15 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Matthew 11:20-24

After the apostolic discourse of chapter 10, Matthew goes back to narrative. In the passages preceding today’s Gospel reading, Jesus reassures the disciples of John the Baptist, saying to them:

Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with a skin disease are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. (Matt 11:4)

In other words, he says that he is indeed “the one who is to come”, the Messiah and Saviour-King.

This is followed by a passage where Jesus complains of those who close their minds to God’s word. John the Baptist led the life of an ascetic in the wilderness, and they did not listen to him. Jesus socialised freely with all kinds of people, and they accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard.

So today Jesus warns three towns where he spent much of his time: Chorazin, Bethsaida and especially Capernaum. If Jesus had done in the pagan towns of Tyre and Sidon what he had down in these predominantly Israelite towns, they would have converted long ago. Even Sodom, the biblical image of the very worst in immorality, would have done better.

It is important for us to realise that, in today’s Gospel, Jesus is primarily speaking to us today. If many non-Christians had been given the opportunities that we have received through our membership of the Christian community, they could very well be living much more generously than we do.

To what extent are we listening to God’s word? How much of it do we try to understand? And how much of it is reflected in our lifestyle? Are we clearly and obviously followers of Christ and his Way?

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