When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he 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 towards 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.
But they did not receive him … Then they went on to another village.
We are living in challenging times, and not those brought on by the Covid pandemic! The Church is struggling with matters of governance and finance. The Church is seeking new ways to bring the Light and Life of Christ into the lives of others. But … as with all change, there is strong resistance. People want things to be as they ‘always have been’. People do not care that the crisis being addressed may mean the end of much that we value in Church life, just as long as what we have is there until the day they die. What a depressing and desperate state of affairs. Such selfishness can only lead to one conclusion: the end of a system that has provided spiritual consolation and support for centuries.
Wherever we are in the world, the Church is struggling with matters of governance and finance. Large numbers of people have been working, and continue to work very hard, to do the best for the Church they love. Sadly, they now find themselves in mortal combat with those who have always kept themselves at a distance from the reality of the situation. Cabals have been formed, factions have broken away, and vocal individuals have bullied whole communities into seeing things their way. The Church is struggling …
In today’s reading we hear of Jesus’ own attempts to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. We hear of him sending messengers to prepare villages for his arrival. Then, we read of those messengers being rejected. The messengers are incensed, they want to see those villages consumed by fire. They want to see God’s vengeance pour down upon them, as we read in the Old Testament. But, that is not Jesus’ way.
Jesus does not seek revenge! Instead, Jesus’ attitude is a model for us all: if they do not want to hear the Good News, that is their choice. But, do not let their rejection distract us from our mission and ministry. Instead, Jesus simply turns from those people and moves on to another village.
As the Church struggles with those daunting issues of governance and finance, we are called to respect the integrity of those who are doing their best. We are not called to join the Samaritans who rejected Jesus’ difficult message. We are called to pray, in humility, and we are called to follow wherever Jesus might lead us. Let us pray for the strength and the courage to do just that … before it is too late!