“If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.”
A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:1-9)
In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go forth to meet Ahaz, you and Sheaijashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, and say to him, ‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabe-el as king in the midst of it,” thus says the Lord God: It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. (Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken to pieces so that it will no longer be a people.) And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.”’
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 48:2-3ab.3c-4.5-6.7-8 (R. see 9cd)
R/. God establishes his city forever
Great is the Lord and highly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain rises in beauty,
the joy of all the earth. R/.
Mount Sion, in the heart of the North,
the city of the Mighty King!
God, in the midst of its citadels,
has shown himself its stronghold. R/.
R/. God establishes his city forever
Behold! the kings assembled;
together they advanced.
They saw; at once they marvelled;
dismayed, they fled in fear. R/.
A trembling seized them there,
anguish, like pangs in giving birth,
as when the east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish. R/.
ALLELUIA Psalm 95:7d.8a
Alleluia. Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Alleluia.
“It shall be more tolerable on the day of judgement for Tyre and Sodom than for you.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 11:20-24)
At that time: Jesus began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgement for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom than for you.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Jesus rebukes the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum because of their incredulity and indifference towards him and his ministry. Like many in our time, they were never touched by anything Christ had done in their various cities. That made Jesus to pronounce a strong judgement on them. Interestingly, Chorazin and Bethsaida were centres of higher learning of the Jewish religion, but unfortunately had not opened up to the Gospel of Christ and so lost out. This shows that faith along brings us closer to God and makes possible his miracles in our lives.