As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus travelled to Jerusalem. They went to a Samaritan village, but the people would not allow him to stay. James and John wanted to punish them but Jesus instructed them to go to another village. Others wanted to join the journey with him but were given ultimatums.
I’m sure this gospel reading requires deep theological understanding greater than mine that’s why we go to mass to get that understanding from the Parish Priest.
Jesus and his Disciples are basically rejected and shunned as they try to enter a village. This brought about an angered response from some.
From a purely lay perspective, it would seem that James and John were a bit ‘trigger happy’ with the fire and brimstone but Jesus simply responded by moving on to another village, a lesson that indicates, don’t be too eager to judge and condemn.
Jesus was clearly focused on his goal and certainly stern with his responses to the three who indicated they would follow him, to which he responded in parables:
- A man on the road said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
- Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me,’ replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury the dead’
- Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him. ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
Although we would consider this a somewhat extreme response, Jesus was in no mood for extended dialogue. His focus remained on the task ahead of Him. In today’s terms it seems to ask us to consider what is really important and to think more about the greater good more than our own specific needs.
Perhaps we need to leave some things behind to clear the path for the future.
Maybe as a Church in this modern society, we need to shrink before we grow. Maybe we need to become a minority to influence the majority, suffer in order to be saved.
As a parent prepares a child for their life ahead Jesus was preparing his disciples and his followers for what is to come.