13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26 June 2022

Going the wrong way?

As Jesus resolutely sets himself on the journey to Jerusalem, he is confronted with the rejection from the Samaritan village. This may have been because he was heading toward Mount Zion and not the mountain that was held holy by the Samaritans, Mount Gerizen.

Faced with rejection, the Apostles are indignant and want payback, but Jesus will have nothing to do with violence; instead, he leaves judgement to God and accepts that it will happen according to God’s timetable, and not his.

The second part of the Gospel is Jesus’ encounters with ‘would be’ disciples. The first is determined enough, but Jesus confronts him with the insecurity and homelessness of life as a disciple of the Son of Man. The second makes an excuse with family obligations. The third, wants to commit but with “delaying tactics” – “let me go and say goodbye to the people at home.”

In all circumstances Jesus challenges these would be disciples, asking of them (a) to establish a clear choice of priorities and (b) to make a clean break with the past. Moving away from the family they have come from; the disciple enters the reconstituted family of the Church – “who hear the word of God and do it” Lk 8:21. This is also a prophetic extension for the Church where we are called to separate ourselves from social structures rather than accommodate them and to be single-minded rather than divided in our loyalties. In a modern world this can be a difficult challenge, especially when we can face more than a village’s worth of rejection.

In our reception of the Eucharist, we may want to take a moment to reflect on Jesus’ unswerving journey to the Father and his total self-giving – both culminating with his death on a cross. The Eucharist presents that self-giving as the brand of discipleship to be emulated in daily life. This direction is one we can take heart in, giving thanks for those who took up the challenge and have shared their lives around the table of the Lord. People’s lives give humanity and character to the Church. Not easily done but done. As they did in Jesus’ time so today do his words continue to challenge and prod today’s followers and would be followers along the journey of faith. It may be difficult at times, and we may face rejection, but at least we are travelling in the right direction.                              

Fr Stephen Berecz

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