New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 8: Year C
Galatians 5:1,13-25 and Luke 9:51-62
“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 toward 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. Thenthey went on to another village.” (Luke 9:52 – 59)
These Samaritans are people who Jesus often showed as examples of faith. The Woman at the well who said, “come see a man who has told me everything I have ever done,” (John 4). And, the Good Samaritan of Luke (10: 30 – 37), who tended to the man left for dead by robbers. So Jesus saw the love of the Samaritans. But they also were tribal.
Samaritans did not like the Israelites or anyone who liked the Israelites. So when they saw that Jesus was going to Jerusalem they cut him and his followers off. It’s the old saying that the friend of my enemy is my enemy. But this attitude does not work. Some of us have been gifted by God to be friendly with people regardless of who they like or don’t like.
When James and John asked if they could call down fire on them Jesus turned and rebuked them. This is some insight as to the power that they had through Jesus. It seems to be no doubt that they could do such a thing but needed permission to do so. They forget however, that when Jesus sent them out in pairs to heal and cast out demons he said to them, “receive those who receive you.” And, “if they don’t receive you just knock the dust off from your shoes and keep on moving. But even to them, let them know that the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
So there is no part of Jesus that is retaliatory. And as followers of Jesus we should not be retaliatory either. Accept those who accept you. Be patient with those who do not accept you. Be pleasant to all. Do not retaliate, ever.
Even to those who bring destruction upon Ukraine, we do not call down fire upon them, we simply want peace for both. Pray for Ukraine.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John