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Samaritan inhospitality

Gospel Reading: Lk 9:51-56
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they journeyed to another village.

JESUS… RESOLUTELY DETERMINED TO JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
Jesus’ journey starts with expanding his ministry into Samaritan territory. To Jews, this ethnic group is made up of traitors, a collection of half-breeds. The name came from the capital of the separatist northern Kingdom of Israel, Samaria, in a rule founded by Omri (cf 1 Kgs 16:21-24). The Samaritans intermarried with pagan peoples and were thus seen as unfaithful to the nation of Israel. The fact that Jesus reaches out to them indicates his desire to broaden his ministry. As was the pattern in the earlier mission of the Twelve (cf Lk 9:1-6), Jesus sends messengers ahead to prepare the way for him. But what both they and he meet is rejection. Luke clearly states that the reason is because Jesus is headed for Jerusalem. In other words, as far as Luke is concerned, the rejection of Jesus will extend beyond Jerusalem. The disciples are not pleased with the lack of response in Samaria and ask Jesus if fiery judgment should be called down from heaven, as Elijah did in 2 Kgs 1. Surely, to reject the coming of God is to deserve instant retribution. But Jesus rebukes the disciples. Obviously, now is not the time for judgment. Rather, it is a time to offer grace and to warn about accountability.

Even in the face of rejection, Jesus refuses to execute judgment. He is telling us that ministry is always invitation and opportunity.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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