In the Gospel at Mass today (Matthew 11:20-24) we hear Our Lord preach a fire and brimstone sermon–literally. Hearing Jesus preach in this way should give us some clarity about who he is. Many people have been paralyzed in their spiritual development because they were fed a false image of Our Lord that has no basis in Sacred Scripture. Pardon me if this sounds flippant, but the image of Jesus as a pacifist-hippie-flower-child has done no favors to the Christian religion and is not scriptural. Our Lord forcefully condemns the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because of their wickedness, unwillingness to accept his preaching (which was backed up by miracles) and refusal to repent. It is an error for us to think that Jesus does not require us to live uprightly according to his teaching. Unfortunately, on account of our hard hearts, we too can be obstinate and fail to properly respond to the Good News. May we always love Jesus and turn to him in repentance so that we can know his blessing and not his wrath.