03Oct 03 October. Tuesday, Week 26

Blessed Columba Marmion, abbot (opt mem.)

1st Reading: Zechariah 8:20-23

Peoples of every nationality will want to share the faith of the Jews

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Peoples shall yet come, 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

The Journey begins as Jesus proceeds towards Jerusalem

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus 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.


Graceful acceptance of rejection

Rejection is one of the most painful human experiences, especially if it comes from someone who really matters to us, one in whom we have invested a lot of trust. An experience of rejection can leave us very angry or bitter, or even tempted to strike out in some way, to retaliate in kind. Jesus knew that from personal experience, when he was rejected by the people of a Samaritan village. He was a Jew heading for Jerusalem and that was enough to make them refuse him hospitality. If rejection like this was a regular response of Samaritans to Jews, the angry reaction of the disciples was a standard Jewish response to Samaritans. They responded to this experience of rejection by suggesting that Jesus allow them to call on God to destroy the Samaritan village. Clearly they wanted to strike out in anger and make them pay!

How different was Jesus’ response to that of his disciples. He quietly shook his head and simply went on to another village, to proclaim the gospel elsewhere. Jesus remained generous in the face of rejection. That is his way and it is meant to be our way too. Who we are and how we relate to others is not determined by how others may treat us. Rather who we are, even in the face of rejection, is determined by something much deeper, by our relationship with the Lord and our efforts to keep living by his mind and spirit.

Blessed Columba Marmion, abbot

Joseph Marmion (1858-1923) from Clane, Count Kildare, was for four years a priest in Dublin diocese and later (1886) became a Benedictine monk in Maredsous abbey, Belgium, taking the religious name Columba at his profession. Though his French was far from perfect, he was valued as a preacher in the local parishes, and became assistant Novice Master to the monks. He gave retreats in Belgium and England, and for his last 14 years was Abbot of Maredsous (1909 – 1923). His Christ-centred books were widely admired, notably his classic “Christ, the Life of the Soul.”