It’s not often that the Lord becomes angry in the Gospels. Like a concerned parent faced with a misbehaving child who doesn’t entirely understand the consequences of his actions, Our Lord expresses his displeasure for the good of others, not out of hate. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had seen many miracles and received special attention from Our Lord, yet they didn’t take the first step of conversion: repentance for their sins.
In using the examples of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, Our Lord is telling them how much more attention and preparation Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had received. Tyre and Sidon were pagan cities that had negatively influenced Israel in the past and had led the people of God to idolatry. Sodom was destroyed for its iniquity and perversion. The first step in repentance is acknowledging that there is something for which you should repent: in contrasting the two sets of cities Our Lord is warning his audience that they needed to repent for their sins and that they risked a similar spiritual destruction if they didn’t.
Our Lord didn’t cast off his human nature when he rose from the dead: he can still be displeased with us, but for our own good. Let’s examine the blessings he’s given us in our lives to see whether we need to do something more or something differently in order to please him and to ensure our own spiritual well-being.
Readings: Exodus 2:1–15a; Psalm 69:3, 14, 30–31, 33–34; Matthew 11:20–24.