In this section you can find a daily commentary on the Gospel of the Day.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Word for today
The Gospel of Matthew 11:20-24

Woe to you

Literally, it is written: then he began to reproach the cities where most of his miracles had been done, since they had not changed their mind: Woe [Greek: ouài] to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! The Greek interjection ouài, "woe", means "pain, grief, sorrow, misfortune, trouble." Ouài  is a transliteration of the Hebrew term Òy, which is a kind of onomatopoeia, expressing a cry of pain, terror, anger, often a threat, an interjection of bad luck, an open complaint against a single person or an entire group of people who have caused misery and deprivation.
So, is Jesus threatening the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida? What terrible actions have they done as to be addressed by Jesus with such harsh words? Jesus does not threaten, He reveals. He reveals that these cities are separating from life and, since they have not changed their mental and spiritual orientation even after Jesus' signs and miracles, they cannot survive, they cannot remain alive. Chorazin and Bethsaida are structured, rigid, they think and live as if they were the center of the world, and their mentality is rooted in the belief that the whole world should revolve around them. Chorazin and Bethsaida fail to see Jesus' deeds, they fail to listen and appreciate His Word, because they are completely and totally absorbed by self-contemplation. The man who is crystallized in the belief that the whole world should revolve around him, since he is lost in the contemplation of himself, is a motionless man, rigid, whining, blind and sterile. The empires of power, economics, medicine, culture, which are in perpetual contemplation of themselves, think they are the center of the world and live in the belief that the whole world should revolve around them, and if they do not take courage and decide to change their  mind, to change their mental orientation, they will experience the complete and total destruction of everything they have built. The woe Jesus addressed to Chorazin and Bethsaida is not a threat, it is much more than it. It is much more than a serious warning too. It is a revelation, the revelation of a dominant law which has been regulating the functioning of vital energies in the universe since ever. The person who lives in the contemplation of him/herself and thinks of him/herself as if he/she were the center of the world is a motionless and useless person, and life will shake him/her off as soon as possible as a useless and embarrassing burden.