Fr. John Denburger, OCSO
26th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Zechariah 3: 20 – 23; Ps 88; Luke 9: 51 – 56
Chapters 9 – 19 of St. Luke’s Gospel recount Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem; today’s passage begins “…He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem…” Literally: “…He set his face to journey”. As He journeys Jesus will meet very different responses from out and out hostility, plots against His life to belief in His person, or at least, wonder over His powers.
In today’s Gospel, as the journey begins, He has a taste of some things he will encounter and they were hardly encouraging. There is the Samaritans’ rejection and there is the disciples’ desire for revenge. The first group wants no part of Him and the latter have not really listened to His teaching.
In fact, John and James’ offer “to bring down fire from heaven to consume” the Samaritans is ridiculous. In their angry reaction to the Samaritans’ lack of welcome, they arrogantly think that they have tremendous power, somehow forgetting their own very limited humanity.
Jesus will have none of it. The passage ends with: “Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.” Those few words reveal the inner freedom of the Lord Jesus. In His sacred humanity, surely He keenly felt the rejection of the Samaritans and the ignorance of the disciples and neither deterred Him in the least.
No event, no person could victimize Him so that He lost His sense of direction, of truth, of union with the Father in the Spirit. This “free” Jesus dwells within us and we in Him. We cannot escape from the vagaries of life but they do not have to take away our freedom to live in Christ – they do not have to deter us from faith, hope and charity.
Our Life in Christ is a continual, growing surrender to His power, His Lordship; to surrender our souls, our hearts to anything less so as to lose our way or at least, to have it diminished is to be victimized, is to cheat ourselves of God’s love. By Baptism the Lord Jesus has brought us into Himself, a relationship which opens us to the freedom of the children of God…the only way to truly live.