Friday, June 28, 2013
Preparing for Sunday
The Gospel has several distinct and important features. It is a turning point, literally. Jesus from this point on has turned toward Jerusalem where he will be lifted up on the cross and raised up after his resurrection. The word “resolutely” speaks of his determination to fulfill his identity as priest, prophet and king. From here in these verses, Luke presents Jesus as working slowly upward and directly to the city of Jerusalem. This provides the context for the next section of today’s reading.
The group that he sends out then travels into a village of Samaria where they are not welcome. James and John ask Jesus if they should call down destructive fires on the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes them and they leave having better things to do as they journey. The long-standing dispute between Jews and Samaritans was about proper interpretation of scriptures, and also about where exactly the proper place of worship is: which territory in which God has truly appeared. We read about this also in John 4: 9. From then until now the battle for scriptural turf and possession of the truth rages on.
The third section of today’s Gospel is about call and response. Three persons are attracted to Jesus and the disciples. Jesus presents them with the basics of being one of his followers. There is an invitation offered to face the tensions between self-possession of one’s personal kingdom and self-donation for the Kingdom of God. There are healthy and normal desires for home and family-relations. The Gospel closes with an image of perseverance. Jesus seems to be talking of himself as well as to those who wish to follow him. Fidelity is never an easy journey.
Do read all of Larry's commentary as he shares his own entrance to the Society of Jesus. It made me think of how I said good-bye to everyone at Union Station in St. Louis and boarded the night train for Kenwood . I actually slept very well and only when the porter woke me to warn me that we were approaching Albany. I just had time to dress and eat the turkey sandwich that my parents had bought for me on the way to the train station (my mother had cooked my favorite dinner so I do not know how I could have been expected to eat that sandwich but it made for a good breakfast.) I took a cab up to Kenwood and waited in the parlor for the Mistress of Novices who then took me to the Chapel for a brief visit. Then I crossed the threshold of the new building that housed all the novices of the United States and Canadian Provinces and some from other countries, too. I met my "angel" who took me out for a walk. A new life began that day and, although I certainly was homesick as a novice, I have always been grateful that the Lord called me and I answered His call.