1 October, 2013. Tuesday of the Twenty Sixth Week
Or St Therese of the Child Jesus.
Zech 8:20ff. Peoples of every nationality shall take hold of the Jew by the edge of his garment and say, “Let us go with you, for God is with you.”
Lk 9:51ff. The long journey narrative begins as Jesus proceeds towards Jerusalem. Rejected by the Samaritans, he still does not want them cursed.
First Reading: Zc 8:20-23
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet coe, the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.” Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
Gospel: Luke 9:51-56
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.
Journey to the end of the road
Today we are invited to share in a journey to Jerusalem and the holy temple, there to worship God with many others. The spirit with which we travel forms the spirit with which we join in prayer at our gathering in church. This spirit, as we learn from the readings, is not a generic pious attitude which fits every moment and circumstance, but somehow it is partially formed by the environment of our individual lives.
In Zechariah we share the excitement of a large group going up to the temple where they will meet with the living God, source of their life and joy. In the Gospel, the long journey narrative is introduced by Luke, when Jesus resolves to go toward Jerusalem and sends messengers on ahead of him. This deliberate journey becomes the setting for the remainder of his ministry. Everything Jesus says or does is another step towards Jerusalem, where he will be “taken from this world.”
We of the twenty-first century are being asked to look on our journey too; to consider all of our changes, transitions and troubles as steps towards fuller union with Jesus and with all members of our church. Whether in sorrow or joy we are joined with many brothers and sisters who share in the Eucharist of Christ’s body given for us and his blood shed for us.
Luke opens his journey narrative with a clash of views at Samaria. This area in central Palestine was despised by the Jerusalem Jews and was fiercely hostile to Jerusalem. Jesus will not allow his disciples to wish for the destruction of the Samaritans. He gives them time to express their anger and then speaks of peace. Later, many Samaritans were converted to Christianity, soon after Pentecost. We read how Philip, one of the Christians who fled from the persecution after Stephen’s martyrdom, went down to Samaria and there proclaimed the Messiah and cured many people, filling the Samaritans with joy (Acts 8:4-8). Luke’s account of the clash is preparing for this moment of glory. He reflects different stages in a process and enables us to see each of them as a way of following in the footsteps of Jesus.