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.”
What a glorious day! Paul Solomon was ordained a deacon along with 42 of his classmates today at St. Peter’s Basilica. It was a beautiful liturgy celebrated by Cardinal Weurl of Washington, DC, along with several bishops, about 200 priests and about 40 deacons. It is surreal to celebrate the call of Jesus to young men just above the tomb of St. Peter and just below the relics of the Chair of St. Peter. It was a wonderful celebration of God’s call and love for His people!
We then went to a reception at the North American College, where we took in the breathtaking view of Rome. Some friends on the pilgrimage and I then went for a walk in Rome toward the Coliseum. We stopped in to visit some beautiful churches along the way and then made our way to the Trevi Fountain. The rains came so we stopped in a café to eat something. I then returned to the hotel to go to a celebration dinner for Paul with his family. The rest of my group continued to tour Rome while we enjoyed a wonderful dinner. It was a great day not only for the Diocese of Joliet, but also for the dioceses of the 42 other men ordained to the diaconate.
I could not help but think back to Jesus’ original call to the apostles, especially St. Peter. They left everything to follow Him. These 43 men have done the same. And the Gospel continues to be passed down through the ages. There is such a need for light in the middle of the darkness!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a stern warning to the people of the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. He had performed some miracles and preached among them, yet they still turned away from the Lord.
We are the fortunate recipients of 2000+ years of history after Jesus. We have the stories compiled in the Bible of much of what Jesus did and said. We don’t have everything He did because St. John says it is not possible to fit everything into one volume. I would venture that we also have had powerful experiences of Jesus’ love in our personal lives.
Yet, despite all of this we sometimes lose faith. Our prayer goes dry. We feel alone. And we wonder where Jesus is. If this has happened to you, welcome to the human race. Everyone has experienced this existential loneliness. Even some of the greatest saints like Mother Theresa have gone years without feeling the presence of the Lord.
Even though Jesus had taught among the disciples, performed many miracles and warned them about the crucifixion, what did they do when He was crucified? They hid in the upper room afraid for their lives. Jesus had to appear to them to assure them of his resurrection, despite telling them that He would be raised.
Do I trust Jesus when He calls me to do something?
Do I believe that He is always faithful to His promises, even when they don’t make sense?
Have a great day!