Posted October 4, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in

Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi

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.”
Luke 10:13-16

Our Lord warns us that they who have refused to follow the Gospel will meet with a heavier punishment than those who have chosen to break God’s natural law. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, Tiberias which John also mentions, are cities of Galilee situated on the shore of the lake of Gennesaret, which is called by the Evangelists the sea of Galilee or Tiberias. Our Lord thus mourns over these cities which did not repent after such great miracles and wonders, and are worse than the Gentiles who only break God’s natural law, seeing that after despising the written law, they did not fear to also despise the Son of God and His glory.

Hence it follows, “For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented sitting in sackcloth and ashes, etc.” By sackcloth, which is woven together from the hairs of goats, he signifies a sharp remembrance of previous sin. But by ashes, he hints at the consideration of death, by which we are reduced to dust. Again, by the sitting down, he implies the lowliness of our conscience. Now we have seen in this day the word of the Savior fulfilled, since Chorazin and Bethsaida, though our Lord was as present among them, believed not, and Tyre and Sidon were friendly both to David and Solomon (1 Kings 5), and afterwards believed in the disciples of Christ who preached the Gospel there.

St. Francis Assisi, whose feast is today, says the following to such unrepentant sinners:

To all those men and women who are not living in penance and do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who practice vice and sin and follow wicked concupiscence (Col 3:5) and the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16); who do not observe what you have promised to the Lord, and bodily serve the world by the desires of the flesh (1 Pet 2:11), the anxieties of the world and the cares of this life; you who are held fast by the devil, whose children you are and whose works you perform (cf Jn 8:41): You are blind, since you do not see the true light, Our Lord Jesus Christ. You do not have spiritual wisdom, since you do not possess the Son of God, Who is the true wisdom of the Father. It is said of such people: Their wisdom has been swallowed up (Ps 106:27), and: Cursed are those who turn away from Your commands (Ps 118:21). You see, acknowledge, know and do evil deeds, and knowingly, you lose your souls.

Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Luke (St. Ambrose of Milan)
On the Gospel of Luke (St. Bede the Venerable)
The Second Letter of St. Francis of Assisi, To the Faithful

FLL Editorial Team