Faith Daily | 27 September 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p583
you declare your almighty power
chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant us such a measure of your grace
that, running in the way of your commandments,
we may obtain your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 9: 51-56
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. 54When 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?’ 55But he turned and rebuked them. 56Then they went on to another village.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Peta-Anne Warwick
Jesus has proclaimed his mission and he enacts it in his teaching, healing, and chasing out unclean spirits as he moves towards Jerusalem. He talks of and demonstrates a God-given vision of a future that is infinitely more just and loving and compassionate than the social, political and religious circumstances of his day.
The Samaritans were unwilling to show hospitality to Jesus. According to the text, it is because his face was set towards Jerusalem. It was an era where there was hostility between Jews and Samaritans. Was Jesus taking a short cut to get to Jerusalem? Perhaps the Samaritans felt taken advantage of; or perhaps James and John triggered generational trauma and prejudice against Jews to boil to the surface. They were tasked with “preparing the way”. I wonder how diplomatically they approached their task – they were after all called the “Sons of Thunder”?
Luke highlights James and Johns’ desire to exact revenge for being insulted. In an era where most Jews viewed Samaritans as corrupt and unclean, maybe they thought their zealousness and self-righteousness was justified … and they did have an example set by Elijah (2 Kings 1: 1-18) who called down fire from heaven to consume the army sent from Samaria by King Ahaziah. But Jesus’ purpose was not to bring judgement, but salvation. His meek response to the rejection by this Samaritan village is in contrasted with the harsh response of the disciples.
This perspective indicates how the church, and we as followers of Christ, should handle insult and rejection. We cannot trust our gut reaction to every sense of injustice we face. We should follow Jesus’s “no” response, and acknowledge that our mission is not to attack those who think and do things differently from the ways we believe to be right and just. It is a mission that invites us – as disciples who can be like James and John in our messy-ness – to allow our hearts to be moved by the one whose example is unflinching in his commitment to the marginalized people of this world.
FINAL PRAYER Amended excerpt from the Prayer for Tolerance, Forgiveness, Reconciliation (Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton)
open our hearts to all our brothers and sisters,
and with them to grow in the wisdom, honesty, courage and
respectfulness shown in your Gospel Teachings.
Give us the vision and honesty to recognize
that we are all brothers and sisters of one human family,
created and sustained by the One Creator.
As we deal with many challenges, may we never give way to fear and anger, which can be the source of division and threat amongst peoples.
We look to how God always gives to us,
as a remedy for sins of prejudice and intolerance.
We see in God the Creator of all things,
One who always provides and is generous
– even given the abuses we have heaped on one another and on the earth.
We see in the Son, Jesus Christ
– the innocent Victim who pours His life blood out from the Cross for all peoples.
We see how the Holy Spirit is God’s gift,
alive in our world today
– inspiring vision and hope that we can have
the same mind and heart of God!
O Creator, show us the way to healing,
forgiveness and reconciliation
and a renewed fellowship.