Jesus pronounces judgment and condemnation upon unrepentant cities who reject Him. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can more fully understand the horror of Hell and by seeking the Gift of the Fear of the Lord from the Spirit so he can always remember and prepare for his own unavoidable coming Judgment.
26th Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Lk 10:13-16
As He prepares the 70 disciples to evangelize broadly, Jesus upbraids (Mt 11:20 – Greek: oneidizó, meaning, a harsh, angry rebuke that brings disgrace and shame) a number of specific towns in Galilee because of their unwillingness to receive His Gospel, pronouncing the doom of eternal destruction upon them (“Woe to you…”). Jesus, in His shocking condemnation of these towns, mercifully offers the rebellious men the opportunity to repent while there is still time.
Jesus harshly condemns Chorazin and Bethsaida, two towns within a few hours walk from where He performed many “mighty deeds.” Because these towns remain unrepentant and unwilling to accept Him, Jesus expresses anger, sorrow and condemnation (“Woe!”); their rejection of the Messiah brought great guilt and judgment. Jesus ominously warns they will fare even worse in the Judgment than the Gentile towns of Tyre and Sidon, towns which God had previously promised harshly judge and destroy (Is 23:1-17; Jer 25:22).
Turning to Capernaum, Jesus earlier revealed to the disciples (Mt 10:15) that those towns which did not receive the disciples’ proclamation of His Gospel would suffer a fate worse then Sodom and Gomorrah, towns God destroyed with fire and brimstone due to broad acceptance and rampant practice of homosexual acts; consistent with His earlier warning of the destruction of those who reject Him, Jesus confirms Capernaum will be cast into Hell and suffer a destruction even worse than the total obliteration of Sodom. Strengthening the 70 disciples for the rejection of the Gospel, Jesus reveals they are only messengers who must simply preach the Gospel, and those who reject the Gospel are rejecting Him and His Father.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Consider, with holy fear, Jesus, the perfection of Justice, as He condemns those who do not repent: demonstrating just Anger, Jesus speaks Harshly to bring Shame (oneidizó); with Vindication (a part of Justice that requires rewards and punishments), Jesus, the Divine Judge, severely Condemns the unrepentant towns, pronouncing His verdict that those who do not repent will be destroyed (an allusion to Hell) with a worse destruction than the completely obliterated Sodom.
Seek the Spirit to understand and fear Hell
Realize: Since Hell is seldom now preached or taught, some Catholic men don’t believe Hell exists or believe the lie that almost everyone, including those who rebelliously engage in mortal sin and refuse to repent, will be received into Heaven; those who remain in mortal sin at the time of their death immediately go to Hell, not Heaven.
Believe: Reflect upon Mortal and Venial Sin (CCC 1849-1876) and Hell (CCC 1033-1037, 1056-1057, 1861).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I can receive a better understanding of the reality and horrors of Hell from You, and I can grasp my great need to continually repent, and grow in holiness so I may by the Grace of God avoid Hell.
Remember your coming Judgment and prepare
Realize: While most men would be extremely anxious at being hauled into court to face a human judge, few consider and fear the Eternal Judge who has perfect knowledge of each man’s guilt.
Believe: Reflect upon the truth Jesus will Judge the Living and the Dead (CCC 678-682, 1020-1022, 1038-1041).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so I move beyond solely fearing the fires of Hell to fearing the just eternal separation from Jesus that will happen if I remain attached to sin and unexpectedly die in a state of mortal sin; bless me Lord Jesus and allow me to receive the Sacrament of Penance.