Why was Our Lord so upset with the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum? Well, many of the people were attracted to Our Lord simply because of his miracles, but they resisted his call to repentance. Through all the miracles he had done in those places, Our Lord showed that he was offering them freedom from sin, healing, and new life. But they let this grace pass them by.
Six hundred years earlier the prophet Baruch offered a prayer of repentance on behalf of all the people of Israel; he said: “We have been disobedient to the Lord our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice”. As we are all too aware, God’s call to repentance and conversion has a history of falling on deaf ears.
It’s one thing to hear the Scriptures read at Mass, or in the Office, or to read them in our private prayer time, but it’s another thing to let God write his words on our hearts and allow him to transform our minds to be like his. Just to hear God’s word is an activity of our intellect alone. But to let his word pierce us and change us—that also calls for an openness to the Holy Spirit and a willingness to be changed. God wants to soften our hearts. He wants to make us more and more like his divine Son. This is the only reason why he calls us to repentance, the only reason why he invites us to join him on an ongoing journey of conversion, change, and transformation.
Day in and day out, God offers us the grace of repentance, the assurance that our sins are forgiven, and the grace to be transformed into Christ. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Our Lord comes to us as the Doctor of our souls. Just as he forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, so he continues his work of healing and salvation today through the Sacrament. Our Lord invites us to search our hearts and examine our consciences so that we can experience, in ever increasing depth, his healing love and grace. May we never be like the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Instead, let us rejoice in God’s mercy and open ourselves up to his transforming grace.