When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him;but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”But he turned and rebuked them.Then they went on to another village.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In previous weeks, we’ve journeyed with Jesus as he crosses borders, real and ritualistic—from breaking purity laws and bringing a young man back to life, to expanding his family to include all those who act on their faith.
Now, we accompany Jesus as he passes through hostile Samaritan territory on his way to Jerusalem. As always, he has lessons to teach. It strikes me that Jesus “set his face” to go to Jerusalem. Even the Son of God had to stay strong in the face of hardship to reach his final destination. In so doing, Jerusalem becomes the place where Jesus returns home to God and the Christian mission spills out into the world.
When the Samaritans reject Jesus, he refuses to retaliate. We live in a culture that would relish “calling down fire from heaven” to obliterate opponents. But Jesus, the bearer of peace and justice, shows his disciples a better way and leads them to another village. Later, in Acts, Luke shares a kind of payoff: the Samaritans come to accept the Christian Way.
How obedient are we to God’s will? What goals do we strive for with pure resolve? How might we reach our goals without hurting others in the process?
—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are
exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux