Ps 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34
Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 3 / (Green/White)
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, virgin / St. Camillus de Lellis, priest
1st Reading: Ex 2:1-15a
Now a man belonging to the clan of Levi married a woman of his own tribe. She gave birth to a boy and, seeing that he was a beautiful child, she kept him hidden for three months. As she could not conceal him any longer, she made a basket out of papyrus leaves and coated it with tar and pitch. She then laid the child in the basket and placed it among the reeds near the bank of the Nile; but the sister of the child kept at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the Nile; her attendants meanwhile walked along the bank. When she saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maidservant to fetch it. She opened the basket and saw the child—a boy, and he was crying! She felt sorry for him, for she thought: “This is one of the Hebrew children.”
Then the sister of the child said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, and the girl went to call the mother of the child. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take the child and nurse him for me and I will pay you.” So the woman took the child and nursed him and, when the child had grown, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. And she named him Moses to recall that she had drawn him out of the water.
After a fairly long time, Moses, by now a grown man, wanted to meet his fellow Hebrews. He noticed how heavily they were burdened and he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own people. He looked around and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
When he went out the next day he saw two Hebrews quarreling. Moses said to the man in the wrong, “Why are you striking a fellow countryman?” But he answered, “Who has set you prince and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must be known.”
When Pharaoh heard about it, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. There he sat down by a well.
Gospel: Mt 11:20-24
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which he had performed most of his miracles, because the people there did not change their ways, “Alas for you Chorazin and Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I assure you, for Tyre and Sidon it will be more bearable on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead! For if the miracles which were performed in you had taken place in Sodom, it would still be there today! But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Contrary to popular belief, miracles do not automatically produce faith (because faith results from an essentially free decision), but it is rather faith that produces miracles. Let us consider these two ideas in turn.
The first idea is perfectly illustrated by Jesus’ comparison between, on the one hand, Tyre and Sidon (the traditional archetypes of impiety—cf. Is. 23; Ez 26—28) and, on the other hand, the lake towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida. The latter had witnessed many miracles of Jesus, yet had refused to believe in him. Jesus compares Tyre and Sidon to them favorably because their evil deeds resulted more from ignorance than from sheer malice.
The second idea is constantly illustrated by Jesus’ response to people who ask him to perform a miracle: “Let it be done to you according to your faith” (Cf. Mt 8:13; 9:29; Lk 7:50…)
At Lourdes (France) people witness the same miracles, yet some believe and some do not. Nothing can force faith—not even God, who respects our freedom too much to do that. The mindset of some basically honest and decent people is sometimes so conditioned (by a secular education, years of atheistic propaganda, etc.) that these people simply cannot make the leap of faith. Let us not look down on them. Maybe they would be better Christians than we are if they had experienced all that we have…
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