Pick a subject, any subject: jealousy, vengeance, poverty—almost every human experience can be found in the short passage of St. Luke’s Gospel. The destination was Jerusalem, but what happened along the way changed people’s lives.
Often our destination becomes the focus of our attention and we forget about the journey. The famous words, “Are we there yet”, which usually come from the back seat, gives evidence that the journey is not being appreciated. Takes a wide-awake person to absorb the beauty of every encounter, even when they are disagreeable. The disciples met with rejection from the Samaritans and they wanted to get even. They wished them dead. Does that sound familiar? Have we ever wanted to wipe out some people from the face of the earth? We might want to classify our behavior as “normal”—only human. We get angry. We want to fight back. Jesus rebuked His disciples. That means He told them to let it go. We will inevitably run into people who don’t like us, don’t agree with us, perhaps do not want to see us. Go the other way. Go to the next village. Jesus instructed His followers to move on, not to fight. We cannot change another person; we can only change how we see them. The way of non-violence is more difficult than making war. Means we have to unlearn old ways, perhaps originating in our childhood. “Someone hits you, you hit them back.” Bulling is at an all time high in our schools. The majority of families expect teachers and administration to deal with it. Jesus rebuked His disciples, parents need to rebuke their children who turn to violence as a solution. Christians don’t hit back. Our Lord didn’t. He forgave His executioners. Jesus spoke the truth at all cost. Although many disagreed with Him, He never acted with vengeance.
Experiencing conflicts is just part of being alive. Someone described marriage as two people agreeing to face conflicts together. Whether single or married, conflicts will come. We can’t live in a bubble. We never know what blessings and what challenges we will face. Hopefully there will be more blessings than negative stuff. As followers of Christ we cannot just hide in our room all day. Of course there are days when we don’t want to get out of bed. Jesus invites us to face life and He will give us the grace to cope.
The Lord had no place to rest His head. As far as we know, Jesus did not have a bank account. What He had were followers—people who believed in Him. One of the weaknesses of our society is that the vast majority believes in the dollar, in the government, or in their own strength; but have stopped believing in Jesus Christ. We say that we do, but words come cheap. Actions—attitude—the way we treat one another—that speaks louder than what we say. “Follow me.” But there is no GPS—no road map and certainly no guarantees. One of the big hints that Jesus gave is that being His follower is painful. The cross comes in many shapes and sizes, but never easy. Yet, we are assured that regardless of the cross, we will have the strength to endure. We are never tested beyond our capability. And we are certainly never abandoned, might feel that way, but the feelings are an illusion. The Lord and His angels are always by our side, watching us, guiding us. In a world filled with distractions, our priority is to do the will of God. Nothing and no one can be more important than following Jesus Christ.
Heaven is our home and we all want to go to heaven to be happy forever. Meanwhile, the journey requires our attention. We want to live and to love as Jesus did.