The disciples were slow learners. They thought that being a follower of Jesus would give them power. The disciples wanted to make others aware of their power by calling down fire from heaven.
Not everyone can do that. The disciples had seen Jesus bring people back to life, heal the sick, make lepers clean. Therefore, they knew that Jesus had power. The disciples concluded that since they were His followers that Jesus would share the same kind of extraordinary power with them. The opportunity arose on their way to Jerusalem. The Samaritans would not welcome them into their village. They assumed that Jesus wanted to get even. Ingrained into the hard wiring of our psyche is the thought that if someone wrongs us, we have the right to wrong them. Jesus changed the pattern of vengeance to forgiveness. He said, “Love your enemies." If we love our enemies, we will not have enemies. Love and hate cannot coexist. Yet, most wars have been in the name of God. Nobody wins a war. One death is too many. The road of nonviolence is never popular. We always look for the quick solution. Weapons are seen as strength and nonviolence is seen as weakness. However, true Christians do not fight back! We are called to imitate Christ who forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. That's the kind of power that changed the world--forgiveness. Anyone can fight back, even animals defend themselves. Takes a soul filled with the Holy Spirit to forgive.
Pride is the greatest enemy of forgiveness. We tend to hold grudges. We remember negative things, especially those who have wronged us. One negative cancels 99 positives. The negative can dominate our thoughts. The sort of thoughts which keep us awake at night. The temptation is to think that we are right and everyone else is wrong. What is worse is that we do not see such behavior as anti-Christian. We can never kill people in the name of Christ and think that we are acting as God wants. Respect for life is not just about abortion issues. We respect life from the womb to the tomb-which means taking care of those who have no voice, the forgotten, the people we want to ignore. The Faith that we profess at Holy Mass must be lived. How we treat one another is more important than how we pray. Christianity begins at home, where living the Gospel is most difficult. Easier for us to be kind to people whom we have never met than to be kind to our own flesh and blood.
We all have an image of what being a follower of Christ means. The disciples also had expectations. Their original expectations were about changing the government, renewing Judaism, becoming famous. Jesus surprised them when He told them that He didn't even have a place to rest his head. Possessions meant nothing to the Lord. Judas kept track of the little money that the group had. Jesus showed His disciples how to be servants—to give their life for others. To this day being a servant is a problem for many. The proof is in traffic. Nobody likes to wait. We do not like to be inconvenienced. However, our vocation is to love as we are loved by God. The missing ingredient in most relationships is love. There can be no jealousies when people love each other, especially in marriage. We are as strong as our weakest family. Family is where being a servant starts. We need to anticipate one another's needs. Mistakes will always be made. None of us are perfect. Yet, we cannot get discouraged. Each day starts without mistakes. When we love, when we are willing to forgive, healing is possible. Our first impulse is usually anger. Jesus has taught us a better way–His way. We cannot look back on what happened yesterday, which cannot be undone. We can learn from the past and try to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
The invitation to discipleship comes at a high price. If we want to be disciples we must live like Christ, serve like Christ, love like Christ.