Homily for the thirteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 9:51-62


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"When the days drew near for him to be received up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?' But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.


"As they were going along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.' To another he said, 'Follow me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' But he said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.' "





Homily:


"When the days drew near for him to be received up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem."


When Jesus goes to Jerusalem, this means, first of all, that he is resolutely going to face his executioners, those who will put him to death and make sure that, in accordance with the divine plan, the Savior of men is taken away from this world: "When the days drew near for him to be received up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem." But, for Jesus, going to Jerusalem is, above all, the fulfillment of his mission as the one who brings peace to souls, beginning with his own. For, once he is dead, Jesus enters, with his soul, into heaven in order to eternally enjoy true peace, the Peace of God! For Jerusalem means "Vision of Peace"!


Jesus is the great peacemaker par excellence: he came into the world to bring peace, but his own Peace! The Peace of the Lord is that which establishes the soul in a perfect harmony with the body, a body that is entirely dominated by the spirit and that obeys it in all things. This is the Peace of God. It is not the peace of men, the peace of the world, which is never anything other than a relative equilibrium between the intention of not attacking others, provided that they do not attack us, and the intention of not doing too much good to others, for to do otherwise could be taken by others as a sign of our weakness and could be seen as an opportunity to attack us. The Peace of God is not like that of men and the world: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." (Jn. 14:27)


"And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem."


The Jews and the Samaritans did not have very peaceful relations with each other. They argued, among other things, concerning whether one should worship the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem or on Mount Gerizim, in Samaria: "Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." (Dialogue of the Samaritan woman with Jesus - Jn. 4:20) In fact, Christ comes to resolve all these problems concerning the place of worship, for he comes as a true Peacemaker, giving each person the strength and the grace to dominate his body through his soul and his spirit. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus will answer that, soon, the material and corporeal place where one should worship the Lord shall be the Temple of his Body - that is to say, not only Jesus himself, but also each one of the faithful, each believer, each member of the Mystical Body of Christ called to render glory to God in his spirit and in his soul, which is in him, in his own body. "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father... But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth..." (Jn. 4:21-23)


"And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?' But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village."


We already know that James and John had been called, by Jesus himself, "Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder" (Mk. 3:17), undoubtedly due to their impetuous character... Jesus' passage through this village of Samaria seems to prove this to us, since James and John ask Jesus if they can call down the fire of heaven upon these people who refuse to welcome them...


Truly, James and John had not yet understood that Jesus came as a bringer of peace to souls and spirits... The Lord wants understanding and harmony, in order to bring about the unity of all in his Kingdom. If some do not want his Peace, one should leave them and go elsewhere to look for men of peace: "When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next." (Mt. 10:23) "And they went on to another village." (Lk. 9:56)


"As they were going along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.' To another he said, 'Follow me.' But he said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' But he said to him, 'Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.' Another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.' "


There is the peace of God and the peace of the world. He who wants to live in the peace of God will, sooner or later, have to make a choice: either to let his body dominate his soul and his spirit, in which case he will not be able to live in the peace of God; or to let his spirit truly dominate his body, in order to enjoy the unique peace that Jesus himself, the Son of God, came to bring us. The peace of God excludes the peace of the world, for the peace of God requires a certain renouncement of the material, and even spiritual, pleasures that the world provides. For the Prince of this world is Satan, the Enemy of human nature; and, until the end of time, Christ and his Church struggle against him in order to prevent him from bringing about the eternal loss of souls. Because of this inevitable combat against the world and the devil, Jesus, the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:5), did not hesitate to declare: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Mt. 10:34)


The Peace of God is in Heaven, in the Kingdom of God, in the Heaven of our souls! "If you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' " (Lk. 10:10-11) The Kingdom of God is so near that it is "in [our] midst" (Lk. 17:21). So the Peace of God is very near to us... Let us ardently seek it! Let us imitate the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in this! For was it not this Peace that she sought throughout her earthly life, when she contemplated the Word of God who lived within her: "Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Lk. 2:19; cf. Lk. 2:51)?



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