13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 29/6/2022 - Gospel: Lk 9:51-62
The people at Samaritan village and Jesus' apostles, both reacted in a similar manner when thing didn't go their way. Jesus sent his messengers ahead of him to a Samaritan village. The people there refused to welcome him. Not having their way- the people wanted Jesus to stay, but he was going up to Jerusalem- they rejected him. The apostles James and John reacted in a similar fashion. They felt they were being humiliated and sought Jesus' approval to burn down the town. Jesus acted not in a human way, but a divine way, He corrected His apostles and asked them to move on.

An immediate response often results in regret. We know for sure that rejecting Jesus is a huge loss rather than a gain, because Jesus comes to give, not to take, and whatever Jesus gives is always beyond human expectation. James and John had followed Jesus for sometimes, but they were slow to adapt the divine way. They knew Jesus worked miracles. He had power. Without Jesus' approval, they themselves couldn't call the fire from heaven to burn the town. They were slow to learn that Jesus would exclude no one from his saving mission. His mission was to save, to give life, not to destroy life.

James and John should have know that a human society is a mixed bag, where both good and bad people live together, and their mission was to preach God's way, God's love and mercy, not vengeance. Furthermore, not all Samaritans were rejecting Jesus. The parable of the Good Samaritan becomes the universal model of hospitality for us all (Lk 10,29ff).

Following Jesus means embarking on a journey where both the messengers and their message would experience either being welcomed or rejected. When people make Jesus' messengers welcome; they welcome their message. In this sense, Jesus' messengers and their message become one reality.

The next 'three dialogues' shows a lack of commitment to follow. The first man desired to follow Jesus, saying, 'I will follow you wherever you go' v.57. Jesus replied that following him means to venture a new way of life, a life which has no fixed address. It is a pilgrimage way of life in which some places will make one feel welcome; others will be hostile. Hearing that the man probably changed his mind, because he was nowhere to be seen at the Passion of Jesus. The second and the third man also wanted to follow Jesus but they would do it according to their own agenda. The second man delayed following, because he wanted to bury his father first and then follow. The time for him to follow is unspecified, because it is not clear whether his father was still with him or if he had just passed away? The conversation gives a contrast picture. The second man talked about the sad news and biological death, and burial; Jesus, on the other hand, talked about the spiritual life, everlasting life, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom. Death in this context would include spiritual death for those who failed to follow Jesus.

To the third man would have liked to have a formal goodbye for his departure. This is the first time we meet this unusual request. At the time of Jesus, no one had ever had a farewell celebration before the mission. A farewell party and following Jesus, which one is his first priority? When one feels the mission is not his first priority, then he would not be seriously committed to the mission. He is like a hired farmer who just wants to finish the job, regardless for the quality of the job. This attitude would convince no one of the Good News. The commitment to follow requires a single mindedness for the mission. The right moment to response to the call is when one hears the call.