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 traveled on to another village.
On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
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 out at home.”
Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”
Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?'
We all know what it is like when we have been wronged. Depending on who it is and the circumstances, we may feel a mix of emotions. Having worked in schools for a good number of years I have seen countless bust-ups or students being unkind to each other. Some students have a natural ability to step back from a situation and would shy away from revenge if they have been wronged. Others act in the heat of the moment to drag up fire from within them rather than from heaven! Then there are those very rare occasions where there is a real deep-seated desire for revenge at any cost. Inevitably, there is something in a child’s upbringing when this is the case.
However, more shocking for me than a desire for revenge that can well up so easily in someone, is the ability that our young people have to forgive. In my 10 years as Head of Year, out of the many disputes and fights I had to deal with, there was only one student who actively sought revenge and refused to forgive. I ended up feeling sorry for her and wondered how she would ever develop deep and lasting relationships later on in life.
It seems to me that, in general, children find it easier to forgive after a quarrel than we do as adults. How many of us have wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn someone up?
In the Gospel Jesus just seems to be able to move on, literally. For many of us, that is not so easy to do, especially if we are living in the same house as the person who has wounded us so deeply. Can we find any solace in today’s Gospel for those trapped in such situations? No, I certainly can’t.
What I do know is that being on the receiving end of unkindness is part of life and that sometimes we just have to let go and move on in our minds as best we can. Christ is the ideal and He sets the example, however, He is the Son of God and we are mere mortals so we shouldn’t be too despondent when we find ourselves nursing our injured feelings. Nevertheless, time spent silently before the Blessed Sacrament allows the Lord to give us some comfort and a safe space to pour out the hurt and anger lurking within us … and that is certainly a good place to start.
Fr Andrew Ebrahim SDB
Oh God my Father,
Make my enemies to love me in Jesus´ name!
By: Emmanuel and Blessing Agbo