Warnings to cities
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Mt 11,20-24) - At that time, Jesus began to rebuke the cities in which he had performed the greatest number of miracles, because they had not converted: «Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida. Because if the miracles that were performed among you had been performed in Tire and Sidon, they would have done penance long ago, wrapped in sackcloth and ashes. Well I tell you: Tire and Sidon on the day of judgment will have a less harsh fate than yours. And you, Capernaum, «will you perhaps be raised up to heaven? You will fall to hell! Because, if the miracles performed in you had occurred in Sodom, it would still exist today! Well I tell you: on the day of judgment he will have a less harsh fate than yours!

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

Jesus loves and for this reason helps us to realize our sin. He rebukes his generation because they rejected the Baptist's preaching and is doing the same to his. Thus he rebukes those cities that have not been able to welcome his Gospel despite the number of miracles he performed. Jesus remembers two ancient pagan cities, Tire and Sidon, which would certainly have done penance and fasting if they had witnessed the miracles performed near Chorazin and Bethsaida. It is a cry of discouragement from Jesus who sees years of preaching and loving action towards everyone go to waste. There is also a mystery of unwelcomeness. But this must be understood within the hardness of the heart to listen and welcome everything that comes from beyond oneself. Self-sufficiency and pride lead inexorably to the closing of the heart and mind. And here is Jesus' very severe judgment on the two cities. And then Jesus also addresses Capernaum where he had made his home together with his disciples: "You will fall to hell." Jesus seems not to be referring only to the inhabitants, but to the city itself. In fact, there is a bond between the inhabitants and the city in which they live. We could say that common life is the index of the quality of life of its inhabitants. If there is disinterest or indifference, the city self-destructs. There is a responsibility of Christians for the city in which they live. They must be its soul so that the city, the men and women who live in it, are places of hope and salvation.