But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
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Augustine of Hippo
De Dom. Pers. 9: It is not then true that His Gospel was not preached in those times and places, in which He foreknew that all would be such, as were many in His actual presence, who would not even believe on Him when He raised men from the dead. For the Lord Himself bears witness that they of Tyre and Sidon would have done penitence in great humility, had the wonders of the Divine power been done in them. Moreover, if the dead are judged according to those deeds which they would have done had they lived, then because these would have believed had the Gospel been preached to them with so great miracles, surely they should not be punished at all, and yet in the day of judgment they shall be punished; for it follows, “But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.” Those then shall be punished with more, these with less severity.
De Don. Pers. 10: A certain Catholic disputant of some note expounded this place of the Gospel in the f...
Ap. Anselm: Thus far He had brought His accusation against the Jews in common; now against certain towns by name, in which He had specially preached, and yet they would not be converted; whence it is said, “Then began he to upbraid the cities in which most of hie mighty works were done, because they had not repented.”
Mor., xxxv. 6: In “sackcloth” is the roughness which denotes the pricking of the conscience for sin, “ashes” denote the dust of the dead; and both are wontto be employed in penitence, that the pricking of the sackcloth may remind us of our sins, and the dust of the ash may cause us to reflect what we have become by judgment.
The curse of disobedience is distinguished from the blessing of obedience. It was necessary for the Jews to be admonished. The ill will of their faithlessness is highlighted by the extraordinary grace of his works there. The Jews were censured by the example of the faithful, to whom salvation came entirely from faith. But these cities displayed no change whatever at Jesus’ actions. At Bethsaida and Capernaum the mute praised the Lord with their voices, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame ran about, and the dead came alive, yet astonishment at such great miracles did not produce any disposition for faith. Hearing about the deeds alone ought to have called them to awe and to faith. Yet this unresponsiveness is found not only in the small sins of Tyre and Sidon but also with the great sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The desire for belief would perhaps have come closer to them if these remarkable acts of virtue had really touched them.
His upbraiding of the towns of Coro aim, Bethsaida, and Capharnaum, is set forth in this chapter, because He therefore upbraided them, because after Hehad such mighty works and wonders in them they had not done penitence. Whence He adds, “Wo for thee, Coro aim! wo for thee, Bethsaida!”.
In this word, Wo, these towns of Galilee are mourned for by the Saviour, that after so many signs and mighty works, they had not done penitence.
And to these are preferred Tyre and Sidon, cities given up to idolatry andvices; “For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have long ago done penitence in sackcloth and ashes.”.
We ask where it is written that the Lord did wonders in Coro aim and Bethsaida? We read above, “And he went about the towns and villages, healing all sicknesses” among the rest, therefore, we may suppose that He wrought signs in Coro aim and Bethsaida.
This is because Tyre and Sidon had trodden under foot the law of nature only, but...
The wise reader may inquire and say, “If Tyre, Sidon and Sodom could repent at the admonishment of our Savior and at his wonderful miracles, they are not to blame because they did not at first believe. But the fault of silence rests in the one who did not want to preach even to those who were likely to repent.” To this charge the response is easy and clear: We do not fathom the decisions of God. We do not know the secrets of his singular acts of dispensation. … Chorazin and Bethsaida were condemned because they did not want to believe in our Lord even when he was with them in person. Meanwhile Tyre and Sidon were pardoned because they believed the apostles. So do not try to fathom the precise time or place when you may expect the salvation of the believers. It was unexpectedly in Capernaum, a very beautiful town, that unbelieving Jerusalem was condemned. To this city there was an ironic reply in Ezekiel: “Sodom has been vindicated on account of you.” .
That you should not say that they were by nature evil, He names Bethsaida, atown from which the Apostles had come; namely, Philip, and two pair of the chief of the Apostles, Peter and Andrew, James and John.
This makes the accusation heavier, for it is a proof of extreme wickedness, that they are worse, not only than any then living, but than the wickedest ofall past time.
It is not for nothing that Jesus mentions Sodom along with the others. He does this to heighten the charge against these cities. This stood as proof of their very great recalcitrance. For they were found to be as bad not only as other cities that currently existed but also as bad as any that ever existed! Thus elsewhere Jesus also makes incriminating comparisons, censuring them by the Ninevites and the queen of the south. In those cases, however, the comparison was with those who did seek to do right, and in these cases with those who had grossly ignored God’s coming. Ezekiel anticipated this intensity of expression when he condemned Jerusalem: “You have justified your sisters in all your sins.” These were cities where Jesus was prone to linger as a favored place. And not even at this does he hold back his speech. He makes their dread even more intense by saying that they would suffer things more grievous than Sodom and Tyre. Jesus alarmed them when he used every possible means to recl...
Coro aim, which is interpreted ‘my mystery,’ and Bethsaida, ‘the house of fruits,’ or, ‘the house of hunters,’ are towns of Galilee situated on the shore of the sea of Galilee. The Lord herefore mourns for towns which once had the mystery of God, and which ought to have brought forth the fruit of virtues, and into which spiritual hunters had been sent.
We at this day see the words of the Saviour fulfilled; Coro aim and Bethsaida would not believe when the Lord came to them in person; but Tyre and Sidon have afterwards believed on the preaching of the Apostles.
Capharnaum was the metropolis of Galilee, and a noted town of that province, and therefore the Lord mentions it particularly, saying, “And thou, Capharnaum,shalt thou indeed be exalted to heaven? Thou shalt go down even to hell.”.
And they have made the sins not of Sodom only and Gomorrah, but of Tyre and Sidon light in comparison, and therefore it follows, “For if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would perhaps have remained unto this day.”.
The Lord, who knows all things, here uses a word expressing uncertainty—”perhaps,” to show that freedom of choice is left to men. “But Isay unto you, it shall be easier for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” And be it known, that in speaking of the city or country, the Lord does not chide with the buildings and walls, but with the men that inhabit there, by the figure metonymy, putting the thing containing for the thing contained. The words, “It shall be easier in the day of judgment,” cl...
Capernaum was exalted as the city of Jesus, for it was made as glorious as if it were His birthplace, yet it derived no benefit from this because it did not believe. On the contrary, it is rather because of this that it has been condemned to hades, that, while having such a citizen, it derived no benefit from Him. From the fact that the name "Capernaum" means "place of comfort and consolation," see that even though one has once been deemed worthy to become a place of the Comforter, that is, of the Holy Spirit, but then becomes haughty in mind, though he had been lifted up to heaven, he falls on account of his haughtiness. Tremble, then, O man!