What if you knew for certain that there was a worldwide event about to take place and you told everyone you knew and no one listened to you? Perhaps in some small measure you would then understand Jesus’ voicing his frustration in today’s gospel.
Jesus preached the Kingdom of God and He preached its imminent arrival. He knew it was going to happen and He wanted all God’s faithful to be ready. He was, as we say in modern parlance, "a change agent." Jesus not only proclaimed the event, He was the event! He in himself embodied the Kingdom. As God he knew, like the Jewish Prophets before him, that the coming of the Kingdom signaled a different way of being…of living one’s daily life, of interacting with one’s fellows. And he showed this not only by the way he lived His life but by the way he touched others lives as well. Echoing the words of the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus had no doubts of God’s in-breaking into the world. He was "firm in faith and stood firm!"
So you might be able to imagine Jesus’ utter amazement when the cities in which His greatest miracles were done did not take seriously his message. These cities were blessed with a "preview" of God’s action in the world, but they refused to change. Whether out of fear or ignorance or even willful pride, these sophisticated cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida or Capernaum just couldn’t be bothered.
And what of us? Do we really take seriously Jesus message of the Kingdom? Do we live the change the Gospel proclaims? Are we truly "firm in faith?"
Patrick Quinn is the former Director of Planned Giving for the Province Development Office in Chicago.