Reflection for Tuesday, July 13, 2021: 15th Week of Ordinary Time.
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Gillick, Larry, S.J.
|"After all I've done for you and this is how you treat me!" Maybe you have heard this angry expression or even shouted it yourself. It reflects love rejected or mistreated. Jesus, as kind of a Moses-like prophet, announces that certain towns in which He had done "mighty deeds" are deserving of "woes", because they saw them, but were not soul-touched by His works of healing and uniting.|Jesus is reminding His hearers of the historically sinful cities of the Hebrew past, such as Sadom and Tyre. Had they witnessed these healings and unitings, and repented, they would not be so cruely judged. You and Bethsaida, as well as Capernaum, will be judged for all you were offered and how little you received. Matthew knows the His hearers are familiar with the biblical history and are also aware of their dignity and yet continue hanging on to disbelief or other gods.|"Repentance" actually means letting go of former gods or ultimates. Those towns had been visited, offered invitations, by these "mighty deeds" and yet they could not surrender from and surrender to. "I was so good to you as a people and you slapped the gifts right out of My hands." So "Woe to you!" |Jesus has been inviting His listeners to "repent" and some did, but not these towns to which He was visiting. The words "pendant, pennant, pendulum, depend, suspend, compendium and impending" all are hinged to the root, "Hang." Jesus is recalling the history of how certain groups of Jewish leaders had let go of God's hanging on to them. His call to them is to return to that Divine embrace and to let go to their hanging on to false gods and practices. "Re-pent" literally means letting loose from being tied up and cherish the grasp of their ancient and faithful God.|There is nothing nor anyone to which or to whom we can hang on to as our absolute, or ultimate reality. I look around my room, my address book, phone list and memory-bank. There ar so many persons, places and things to which I am attached. Sweaters, pictures, figurines, knickknacks containing charged memories. I hang on to the hands of those who lovingly gave them to me and some of those I find prayerfully difficult to un-depend.|We pray for the graceful freedom to let go of our "hang-ups" to be freer to receive the new "Mighty deeds" which of course, we fear will not be offered. Relax, rejoice and re-God!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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