When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
In the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today’s gospel is really an important turning point in the gospel according to St. Luke. Up until now, Jesus has mostly been in Galilee, which is where he was from, his home area. He’s been teaching and healing, but the pace is picking up a little bit in the story. Just before this, he twice tells his disciples that he’s going to be betrayed. He’s going to suffer and die. They don’t seem to get it, but he knows what’s coming. He knows it’s time to head to Jerusalem, and he knows what’s going to happen there. That phrase, he set his face to go to Jerusalem, is so resolute. There’s no turning back now.
So the first thing he has to do to get from Galilee to Jerusalem, and to do that you have to go through Samaria. And as you probably know, the Samaritans and the Jews were once all one family, and they broke apart. And they didn’t always get along, which is why, the meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that someone that they ordinarily wouldn’t have thought too much of is shown to be a good person.
But I digress.
So they are going to go through Samaria, unfriendly territory. He sends a mission ahead to say, “Jesus is coming. Will you receive us?” And they’re turned away. We don’t know why exactly. Jesus was obviously expecting hospitality. It could have been because their destination was Jerusalem, because the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem. The Samaritans worshiped on another mountain. We don’t why they were turned away, but James and John are disturbed by this. They suggest calling down fire to destroy the village. Jesus says no, and they go on. And the end of the gospel is three examples of the kind of single-minded commitment that is going to be required of people who follow Jesus.Continue reading