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,
and they journeyed to another village.
This is such an impressive passage of sacred Scripture. I am drawn to the fact that Jesus was ‘resolutely determined’ to enter Jerusalem, as if nothing could prevent Him from fulfilling the purpose for which His Father sent Him. And in the midst of His resolution to offer Himself as a living sacrifice, came an obstacle – some Samaritans would not let him pass through their village, because His destination was to their blood-kin enemy to the south.
A sad irony is that Jesus was on this way to pave the way for the Samaritans to re-enter into the Covenant of God’s people – to undo the separation that war and sin had caused in the community, but here they were unknowingly preventing Him from making their life better. It is true; inasmuch as you may not always know what Jesus is up to or how He is moving in your life, the fact of the matter is that He continually active in your life and trying to make it better for you and for all. And we hinder that awesome work of His when we close our doors to the Lord instead of leaving them open. Yet, the mercy of God is so magnanimous that rather than destroying the whole village, as James and John had suggested, Jesus just passed on to the next village and eventually went on to open the gates to Heaven for all, regardless of the fact that many closed their doors and hearts to Him.
In the context of our present life, we have to make sure that we too are resolutely determined to become saints, because the saints are those in Heaven. To desire something less than sainthood is to desire eternity in Hell. We have to be committed to not letting any obstacle stand in our way of sainthood. We cannot allow the hate and machinations of people stand in our way of holiness. We cannot allow closed doors, closed ears, closed hearts, or closed minds prevent us from the goal of eternal life with God.
I don’t know anyone who wakes up in the morning and commits themselves to being mediocre. I don’t know anyone who loves mediocrity. I believe that deep down on the inside even the most lazy and shiftless person in the world truly wants to be the best at something, but he just does not know how to get there – doesn’t believe that he is capable. In the Spiritual Life we have no excuse for being mediocre in our pursuit of Heaven; for God came in the flesh and showed us the way, He gives us the Holy Spirit to empower, assist, and motivate us along the way, He gives us Guardian Angels to protect us, He gave us His One Church to guide us, He gave us the Apostles and their teachings to bind and circumscribe us, and He continues to give us each other (living and future saints) to support us. Therefore, God has not only called us to make a determined resolution to carry our own cross to Calvary, but He has also given us ever help that we need to get there. Jesus Christ had Simon of Cyrene to help Him carry His Cross, but His mercy gave us the Holy Spirit, the Sacraments, Angels, sacred Scripture and Tradition, and fellow sinners on the way to sainthood to help us carry ours.
Sainthood is a decision that each of us has to make – must make. Either you are resolved to become a saint or you’re not. It is as simple as that. The path is arduous, but the decision is easy – Heaven or Hell – which one do you want for eternity? The path is long and full of traps, tricks, and temptations from the world, the flesh, and the Devil, but the decision is simple – eternal joy or eternal longing for that which you cannot have – which one sounds more peaceful?
The call of today’s Gospel is for us to wake up every morning and make the decision to pursue sainthood that day, regardless of the cost. I think if we all resolve to do that one simple thing everyday we will all be pleased with the end result.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those that know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.