Jesus addresses his sharp critiques in our Gospel reading to the people of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Our excerpt at the beginning makes reference to the occurrence of many miraculous events in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Mt. 11:5). Before these happenings, John the Baptizer had already been preaching a message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. All these events pointed to that God had remained faithful to His covenant, and was writing a new chapter in salvation history with the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus describes the people of these cities as unrepentant. What they had seen or heard had not caused their faith to rekindle; they remained unmoved in thinking about changing their way of life. They experienced the summit of spiritual life, a direct encounter with the Lord, and yet returned to life as normal. Jesus’ frustration is common to our life experiences when we have given our best effort to no avail. Despite the obstinacy of the people, the good news for us is that the Gospel does not end at Mt 11:24. Jesus continues to minister in the area, performing the same miracles and teachings, with the hope that the people will be open to faith.
God never mirrors the response that we tender unto Him, which are avoidance or apathy usually. The question for us is how do we respond in the face of our intransigence. How do we open ourselves to the experience of divine love and all that flows from it? We are unable to reshape our intransigence into our idealized faithful form of ourselves. God is not asking that of us. Rather, God asks only to be let-in. We have the choice to invite the Lord into the very area we desire to hide. We let this area become a touch point where God’s generosity and our dependence meet.
What has been my experience with unbelief? How has God shown me mercy and fidelity during these times?