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ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM

25 Jun
ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM

(A biblical reflection on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – 26 June 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:51-62
 
First Reading: 1Kings 19;6,19-21; Psalms: Psalm 16:1-2,5-11; Second Reading: Galatians 5:1,13-18
 
The Scripture Text
When the days drew near for Him to be received up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem. And He sent messengers ahead of Him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him; but the people would not receive Him, because His face was set toward Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do You want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” To another He said, “Follow Me.” But He said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow You, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.  (Luke 9:51-62 RSV)
 
The life of Jesus was a journey through this world until He finally returned to heaven. The good news for us is that heaven if the goal of our pilgrimage too. It is an end well worth the cost of single-minded dedication and detachment.
 
As Jesus’ mission on earth drew to a close, “He set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). In Jerusalem, which symbolizes the entirety of God’s plan, both old and new, Jesus accomplished the Father’s will by His death, resurrection, and ascension (Luke 9:31). As a result of Jesus’ obedience, the Holy Spirit was poured out and the Kingdom of God advanced throughout the world.
 
Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem, determined to fulfil His Father’s plan for Him. He turned His back on everything that would prevent Him from accomplishing God’s will. He had faith that the Father was His inheritance, His chosen portion and cup (Psalm 16:5). Therefore, He surrendered His life to His Father. Jesus knew that there was “fullness of joy” in the Father’s presence – that in His “right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
 
Like Jesus, we too must set our faces toward Jerusalem. To glorify the Father as Jesus did means we also will undergo suffering and persecution as He did. We can take courage, however, because Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33) and in Him we too overcome. To be victorious in Christ, we are called to accept the Father’s will and follow Jesus without reservation.
 
Following Jesus requires that we surrender ourselves to Him and place our security in Him alone. Jesus relied only on the Father for His security and thus had “nowhere to lay His head” in this world (Luke 9:58). Like Jesus, we need to put aside everything and preach the Kingdom of God: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). Finally, we cannot look back to the past but need to look forward to the future. One who plows does not look back to see if his furrows are straight (Luke 9:62). With hope and expectation, we keep our eyes fixed on God, trusting in His sovereignty and having confidence that His plan will be fulfilled in us.
 
These proverbs are reflections on what is required to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus calls us not to “save” our lives, but to sacrifice them as well as all our worldly treasures for Him, just as He did for the Father. In so doing, we will find fullness of life and know that God is our inheritance.
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, open our eyes to the majesty of our heavenly home. May this vision compel us forward as we seek Jesus, the pearl of great price. Jesus, we want to be with You forever! Amen.
 
Jakarta, 25 June 2022
 
A Christian Pilgrim
 
 

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