Luke 9: 51-62

When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he

gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem.

He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality.

When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?”

Jesus turned on them: “Of course not!” And they travelled on to another village.

On the road someone asked if he could go along. He said I’ll go with you, wherever.

Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it?

We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”

He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”

Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom”

Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened

Gospel Reflection

God’s grace sets us free – from intolerance and prejudice and from everything that would keep us from following him.  When Jesus made preparation to enter a Samaritan village he was met with opposition, no doubt because the Samaritans perceived that he belonged to the other party they were in dispute with.  The Jews and Samaritans had been divided for centuries. 

Jesus’ disciples were indignant and wanted to see retribution.  Jesus, in turn, rebukes them for their lack of toleration.  Jesus had set his face toward Jerusalem in order todie so that Jew, Samaritan and Gentile might be reconciled with God and be made one in Christ. 

When the Lord calls us to follow him he gives us the grace to put aside everything that might keep us from doing his will. Loyalty to Jesus demands sacrifice, especially the sacrifice of one’s own will for the will of God.  A would-be disciple responded by saying, I must first go and bury my father, that is, go back home and take care of him until he died.   Jesus surprised his disciples by telling that they must not look back on what they have freely given up, but instead keep their focus clearly on the goal they have set for their lives, union and happiness with God in his kingdom. A ploughman who looked back caused his furrow to be crooked. 

Likewise, if we look back our path will likely diverge and we’ll miss what God has for us. When the going is rough or the way ahead looks uncertain, we are tempted to look back to the “good old days” or to look for “greener turf”. Are we resolved to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and to “stay the course” in following him to the end?