Fire and brimstone


Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
26th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Zec 8:20-23
Gospel: Luke 9:51-56

As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. He had sent ahead of him some messengers who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for him. But the people would not receive him because he was on his way to Jerusalem. Seeing this, James and John, his disciples said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.

(Daily Gospel in
the Assimilated Life

I was among the handful of priests that attended the 2005 World Youth Day in Germany. When the activities were over, we decided to make side trips to other European countries. To cut cost we travelled as backpackers. Arriving in Rome two of us were tasked to scout for cheap lodging while the rest remained at the train station. I found a hotel for 90 Euros per night while the other priest found one for only 85 Euros. We chose the cheaper, but not without regrets. The hotel air-conditioning was shut down, and breakfast was just as much as a hungry bird’s share. The elevator made me feel it was safer scaling the dilapidated building with a rope. The hotel was called Hotel Mirage – true to its name!
This experience keeps coming back to my mind each time I reflect on today’s Gospel reading. Jesus too asked some messengers to go ahead to prepare lodging for him at a Samaritan town. The Samaritans did not give him any lodging because he was a Jew. James and John reacted violently. There are two ways one can react to rejection. James and John were reactive whereas Jesus was reflective. Few would react like Jesus because the instinctive way is to go the way of James and John. Only a reflective person can exercise self-restraint when the instinctive thing to do is to be violent. This was what Jesus did when refused lodging by the Samaritans. Realizing that he was only caught in the cross fire between Jews and Samaritans who were locked up in mutual discrimination, he did not allow his disciples to retaliate.

Reflection separates reality from mirage. This was reality: the Samaritans did not mean to be personal when they refused Jesus lodging. The perceived rejection was only a mirage! Let us immerse ourselves in the spirituality of Jesus so that we too may be reflective and exercise self restraint.

Mirage became reality in our case when we suffered all the discomforts of a hotel that was cheap from all angles. We bring mirage to reality when we fail to meditate, and so react instinctively on perceived insults where there is none. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.

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