Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Our returning paganism
Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “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 in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Mt 11,20-24
Today, Jesus accuses the city of Corazin and Bethsaida, which, although having seen many miracles, were not open to the message of the gospel. It is a page on which our society should reflect because, after being for nearly two millennia the cradle of the christianity, where it saw an extraordinary flowering of saints, miracles and missionaries, now it seems infected by a returning paganism. Who could have predicted, only a few decades ago, the permissiveness of our present society in the field of the morals? The sexual relations before the marriage, families ”de facto”, homosexual couples, the limitation of births obtained by any means, divorce, abortion, and now euthanasia are considered as natural. All of this is even presented as progress, being an achievement of civilization. Also the underway process of secularization, which, as the history shows, leads to agnosticism and atheism, is considered an aspect of useful rationality. We now tacitly believe that God reveals himself to the man through the history and, moreover, we tend to give absolute value to the behaviour of the individual consciences. But the things are not so: it is the gospel which judges the man and the history, not vice versa; and it does not approve them when they go astray. The gospel is not to please the men, but to shake them from their false security. Christ is ” a sign that will be contradicted so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed ” (Lk 2,34-35). It is the gospel which must not to be bended to the facts of the history – even if some facts can help to better understand it – but are the facts which must be read and judged in its light. It is true that to a certain extent our society is profoundly improved: clarity of conscience for the dignity and the human solidarity, search for social justice and freedom, condemnation of the wars. These are values which the gospel made them penetrating in the life, so that they became common even among the non-christians. However, we believe that the passage of today is to be read as a rebuke to the permissiveness of our society, which for thousand years has been the cradle of the christian values and now it is thereby leaking.