Luke 10: 13-16 – Week 26 Ordinary Time, Friday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)
13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
The large part of Jesus’ ministry, prior to his ascent to Jerusalem, is conducted around a relatively small area, just a few miles around the Sea of Galilee, around the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Corazin. It is here that the great signs and miracles have been performed. We might think of the meanings of the word ‘performance’ as we think of Jesus directing these great acts of healing toward greater knowledge of God and our true and proper relationship with God. It is here that Jesus has preached, offering to all of us, for all time, a new and perfect insight as to how we are to conduct our lives and to be at one with God and with our fellow humans.
Jesus has with him his disciples. Additionally, Jesus has attracted the interest and attention of many multitudes of people. Here, however, we discover a failure of conversion to be the norm for many of the people – indeed, so we might infer, for the generality.
Jesus now asks us to contemplate those in the land of his ministry who refuse Jesus even though they have witnessed the signs and miracles and even though they have heard, at first hand, the teachings of Jesus. What must be clogging up those people’s heads such that they are unable to respond to Jesus? Tyre and Sidon were towns long associated with oppression of the Jewish people, condemned by the prophets, and yet Jesus tells us that had the inhabitants of those towns witnessed what Jesus has said and done, then those people would have experienced conversion.
In our time since Jesus, we have used such verses of the Bible to commit great crimes against the Jews, and yet Christians in name have gone on to commit the same crimes. We witness Jesus, and yet we refuse conversion. Our sackcloth and ashes call to us, ask to be worn. In our lives each day we are called to conversion, always, which is to say to give ourselves to Jesus fully, so that Jesus may occupy the entirety of our whole lives, with no reservation of life, heart, mind, spirit, soul.
This is why we say, potentially so often each day: Lord, forgive me. It is why we know that, were we to stop asking God for forgiveness, then we would have given ourselves to evil, losing sight of our hope in heaven, and so additionally spoiling our time in this Earth.
O GOD, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.
2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
6 God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;
8 Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.
9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
10 Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?
11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. (Psalm 59/60)
King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version | Endnotes
Jesus Announces Apocalypse
In Luke 10:13-16, Jesus announces the coming of the apocalypse, a time of great judgment and destruction that will ultimately lead to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The passage begins with Jesus rebuking the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida for their lack of faith, saying that if the same miracles that were performed in their midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, those cities would have repented.
Jesus goes on to say: ‘But woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.’
These words of Jesus demonstrate the gravity of the judgment that is to come upon those who reject him and his message. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were all Jewish towns that had experienced the presence and teaching of Jesus, yet they had failed to repent and believe in him.
Throughout the Bible, there are numerous prophecies of judgment and destruction that are to come upon those who reject God and his ways. In the book of Revelation, for example, John sees visions of plagues, earthquakes, and other disasters that will befall the earth in the last days. Similarly, in the book of Daniel, the prophet describes a time of great tribulation that will precede the establishment of God’s kingdom.
Apocalypse In The Old Testament Of The Bible
Here are six passages from the Old Testament that are particularly relevant:
- Isaiah 24:1-6 – This passage describes a time when the earth will be laid waste and its inhabitants punished for their sins. ‘The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish… Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.’
- Joel 2:30-31 – Joel prophesies of a day when the sun will be darkened and the moon turned to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord. ‘And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.’
- Amos 5:18-20 – Amos warns of those who long for the day of the Lord but do not understand what it entails. ‘Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light… Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?’
- Zephaniah 1:14-18 – Zephaniah describes a time of wrath and distress when the Lord will punish the wicked. ‘The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness… For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.’
- Malachi 4:1-3 – Malachi speaks of a day when the wicked will be burned up like stubble and the righteous will shine like the sun. ‘For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.’
- Daniel 12:1-3 – In this passage, Daniel prophesies of a time of trouble such as never was, followed by a resurrection of the dead. ‘And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time… And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’
Apocalypse In The New Testament Of The Bible
Here are six passages from the New Testament that speak to the theme of the apocalypse and the judgment to come:
- Matthew 24:29-31 – Jesus speaks of a time when the sun and moon will be darkened and the powers of heaven will be shaken, and then he will return in glory to gather his elect. ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’
- Mark 13:24-27 – This passage echoes Jesus’ words in Matthew 24, describing the darkening of the sun and moon and the gathering of the elect by the angels. ‘But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light… And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.’
- Luke 21:25-28 – Luke’s version of Jesus’ prophecy also describes the signs in the heavens and the coming of the Son of Man. ‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring… And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’
- 2 Peter 3:10-13 – Peter speaks of a day when the heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire and a new heavens and earth will be created. ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’
- Revelation 6:12-17 – The book of Revelation contains many images of the apocalypse, including this description of the sixth seal being opened and the stars falling from heaven. ‘And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind… And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they should be ready for the day of the Lord, which will come like a thief in the night. ‘For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night… Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.’
Teachings Of The Church About The Apocalypse
In the Catholic tradition, the Catechism Of The Catholic Church teaches that ‘the Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection’ (CCC 677). This means that the Church will undergo a period of trial and suffering before the final victory of Christ.
Pope Francis has spoken on the topic of the apocalypse and the judgment to come. In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis writes about the importance of caring for the environment and protecting the earth, as it is a gift from God that will be judged at the end of time. Pope Francis also speaks about the need for a new global political authority to address issues like climate change and environmental degradation, which threaten the future of humanity.
In a homily delivered in 2013, Pope Francis spoke about the final judgment, urging listeners to be vigilant and to be prepared for the coming of Christ. Pope Francis emphasized the importance of doing good works, saying that they are the ‘passport’ to heaven. Pope Francis also warned against becoming complacent or indifferent to the needs of others, saying that ‘the heart grows hard when it is not stretched out by love’.
In a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the need to address climate change and protect the environment, saying that it is a ‘moral and spiritual imperative’ for humanity to act. He warned that if we do not take action, we risk ‘catastrophic consequences’ that will affect the poor and vulnerable the most.