In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks of the sin of Tyre and Sidon. But just what was this sin? In chapter 5 of the book of the prophet Amos, the prophet mentions a list of things that will bring woe and destruction.
- Those who turn justice into wormwood.
- Those who cast righteousness to the ground.
- Those who tax the destitute.
- Those who exact from them levies of grain.
- Those who are oppressing the just.
- Those who are accepting bribes.
- Those who are turning away the needy at the gate.
While these are not all of the sins, they form the major theme of the preaching of Amos. Justice becomes bitter, righteousness gets trampled, and those who have turn to mistreat the poor. They do not want to hear about justice, and they abhor the person with integrity. They accept bribes and turn the needy away at the gate.
And as for Sidon, it was a city that embraced more often than not its pagan side. And so, over time, both the cities of Tyre and Sidon joined the group (often including Sodom and Gomorrah) for the epitome of sin and sinful living. And yet, as bad as Tyre and Sidon were as examples of sin, the indifference and paganism of those who heard his words was far worse.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we to see the mighty deeds of Jesus in our midst? In fact, each day, we’re afforded the opportunity to be in the presence of Jesus. We can receive the Eucharist, and we can pray it presents. Very often we witness the mighty presence of God and God’s mighty deeds in the sacrament of baptism, is new and eternal life is bestowed upon those who believe. We have the opportunity to receive the mercy and forgiveness of God through the sacrament of confession, not just any old person, but from Jesus himself.
The question for us today is whether or not our faith in Jesus will in fact change our actions, attitudes, and beliefs. The real challenge with Corazin and Bethsiada was that despite the deeds they witnessed constantly in their midst, nothing ever really changed. Either they did not believe directly in God, or in Jesus, or even worse they claim to believe but it made no difference in the way in which they lived.
We can find our own spiritual lives, the very same temptation. But then, we are no better than those we hear about in today’s gospel. For those who believe in Jesus, the end result is to act like him as well.