September 27, 2016
Memorial of Saint Vincet de Paul, Priest
The Gospel Today
When the days for Jesus to be 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,
and they journeyed to another village.
REFLECTION (Sem. Rodel Aclan)
In the Gospel reading today, I see contrasting attitude of Jesus and of James and John. The two disciples exhibited arrogance and impatience simply because they know that they can really summon fire to consume those who did not welcome them. They have power. On the other hand, Jesus despite the fact that He is all – powerful chose to humble Himself by accepting the unwelcoming attitude of the Samaritan. And a more humbling gesture on His part, when without delay He wanted to reach Jerusalem, where He once again humbled Himself by accepting betrayal and abandonment by his disciples, humiliation from the mocks and shouts of rejection of the people, and ultimately His sufferings and death for the sake of the very people who sinned against Him.
I am wondering if it was really because of Jesus’ welfare that they wanted to “call down fire from heaven to consume those who rejected them” or was it their pride and impatience that were hurt from that rejection?
Whenever I hear people who would make bad comments against the Church and its teachings or thrown disrespectful words against our faith in Jesus, I also feel like what James and John felt. I wanted to teach them a lesson for them to know that they are disrespecting God.
But the way of Jesus is different from our ways. He achieves His goal not by the use of power, fear and intimidation, instead He draws people into Himself by His gentleness and kindness. His humility allowed Him to endure rejection and persecution.
The Gospel invites us to shun our tendency to be arrogant and fuming in face of the people who antagonize us and not to confront evil by evil, instead imitate the humility of our Lord Jesus.
Likewise, we can find inspiration from the life and example of St. Vincent de Paul. In the early years of his priesthood his charm and social skills gained him entry into the highest level of society. However, after he heard the confession of a peasant, he had a great transformation. From the lucrative service to the rich, he turned his attention to the welfare of the peasant and the well-being of the poor. His transformation could never happen had he not humbled himself, following the humility of Christ.