Samaritan in hospitality

Published June 30, 2019, 12:01 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

LUKE 9:51-62

reflectionstodayWhen the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus makes a detour

The violent stance taken by James and John against Samaritan inhospitality is a natural human reaction. They howl for revenge and want to call down fire on the entire village. The two brothers, nicknamed “Sons of Thunder,” belong to the inner circle of Jesus. Even if they do not as yet comprehend Jesus’ mission, they can somehow identify with Jesus and his plan to proceed to Jerusalem. Thus, when the emissaries are turned away, James and John rail against the Samaritans. To their mind, any obstacle on the way of Jesus’ mission must be obliterated.

Jesus hardens his countenance, turns his face like flint towards Jerusalem, in his resolute determination to go to the Holy City. Rather than bluster his way through the Samaritan village, Jesus quietly makes a detour. His non-confrontational demeanor delivers a powerful teaching to his apostles who are adept at making a show of muscle and force. Jesus walks the way of humility and peace rather than arrogance and violence.

The Samaritan inhospitality is not totally unexpected. The Jews and the Samaritans have a long history of strained relationships and are like water and oil. The Jews look down on the Jewish people of Samaria and consider them impure (half-Jews) since they intermarried with so-called pagans. The Jews also rejected the help offered by the half-Jews to rebuild the Temple, so the latter built their own Temple at Mount Gerizim, thus making the division among believers more pronounced.

Jesus makes a final attempt to reach out and gather the scattered children of Israel. He decides to be prudent, which is the better part of valor, by sending messengers ahead of him to the Samaritan village. On his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus takes the chance to share the Good News with the Samaritans, but once rejected, he walks quietly away.

On his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus feels the increasing weight of his mission and sees that the most part of this will be pain. It is not the ordinary pain one gets from a throb or a twinge, but one of torment and torture. It is pain experienced in the sum of one’s humanity—physical, spiritual, psychological, moral, and beyond. As Jesus walks towards Jerusalem, he is bludgeoned by pain in its entirety, but he will choose to transform this monumental amount of pain into a sacrifice of love. To him, there will be no shirking from the Cross; Jesus is prepared to give everything to the last drop.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: