Scripture: Lectionary 456. Oct. 1. Zechariah 8:20-23. Psalm 87: 1-3,4-5, 6-7. Luke 9: 51-56:
James and John are nicknamed the “sons of thunder.” We learn today why that is so. They are angry with the Samaritans who will not allow Jesus who is a Jew to take a shortcut travel route up to Jerusalem. They are infuriated and ask that the Samaritans be struck down with lightening united with its echo “thunder.” Jesus who is constantly teaching them on this long travel journey to Jerusalem realizes once again that they are far from comprehending their calling as disciples and apostles. It is another teaching moment for the master teacher, Jesus. Their mindset is very human and it is burning with anger rather than with a steady and calm zeal. Jesus shows them the way to be followers of his and reprimands them for their outburst. They will face more than the Samaritans’ refusal. Jesus will show them how to withstand rejection, sufferings, even beatings, and finally death on the cross. They do not understand the fact that he will rise from the dead on the third day; they are in need of deeper commitment to the way of the Lord which is the way of the Cross. Only through the Cross can they be led to accept sufferings and death because Jesus has told them he will rise again on the third day. Their thoughts are not his. Theirs are not the thoughts of God but of humans. Like them we all have a long way to go to understand the long journey with Jesus in our lives as disciples.
Jesus knew this was his last journey up to Jerusalem. Luke tells us quite clearly, “he firmly resolved to proceed up to Jerusalem.” Our own focus on the realm of God and the holy heavenly Jerusalem is important both for the now of today and the tomorrows that follow. This is part of the purity of heart we need as followers of the Lord.
Zechariah prophesies about many going up to Jerusalem to seek the Lord and implore God’s favors upon them. They are even excited about hanging on to the clothing of an Israelite to be accompanied up to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Psalm 87 sings of this experience in a beautiful way. The psalm is a gem that our Church uses for speaking of the mother of Jesus, Mary. It is used in many of the commemorations and Masses dedicated to her carrying out the mission of her son. She is, as we have learned, the Daughter of Zion, and leads her children to the Temple of the Lord where her son is there holding the Torah and the Gospel. We, too, should be exuberant about seeking the new and heavenly Jerusalem descending from above like a bride. We keep these readings of Scripture in mind as we travel today to our work and our ministries. We may wish to pray the complete Psalm 87 in order to join in the spirit of going up to Jerusalem and realizing that both Israelite and Gentile are called to the same Temple of God in the heavenly Jerusalem. “One and all were born in her; and he who established her is the Most High Lord.” Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.