Mindanao Times

No one who looks back

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MEDITATION: Are you surprised to see two of Jesus’ disciples praying for the destructio­n of a Samaritan village? The Jews and Samaritans had been divided for centuries. Jewish pilgrims who passed through Samaritan territory were often treated badly and even assaulted. Jesus did the unthinkabl­e for a Jew. He not only decided to travel through Samaritan territory at personal risk, but he also asked for hospitalit­y in one of their villages! Jesus faced rejection and abuse in order to reconcile us with God and one another Jesus’ offer of friendship was rebuffed. Is there any wonder that the disciples were indignant and felt justified in wanting to see retributio­n done to this village? Wouldn’t you respond the same way? Jesus, however, rebukes his disciples for their lack of toleration. Jesus had “set his face toward Jerusalem” to die on a cross that Jew, Samaritan and Gentile might be reconciled with God and be united as one people in Christ. Jesus seeks our highest good - friend and enemy alike Tolerance is a much needed virtue today. But aren’t we often tolerant for the wrong thing or for the wrong motive? Christian love seeks the highest good of both one’s neighbor and one’s enemy. When Abraham Lincoln was criticized for his courtesy and tolerance towards his enemies during the American Civil War, he responded: “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” How do you treat those who cross you and cause you trouble? Do you seek their good rather than their harm? Jesus explains the cost of following as his disciple When the Lord calls us to follow him he gives us the grace to put aside everything that might keep us from doing his will. Loyalty to Jesus requires sacrifice, letting go of my will for God’s will. A would-be disciple responded by saying, I must first go and bury my father, that is, go back home and take care of him until he died. Jesus certainly did not mean that we should refuse to care for others, especially our parents in their old age. His startling statement, however, made clear that God must always be first in our lives. If we love him above all, then everything else will fall into its proper place and time. Jesus surprised his disciples by telling that they must not look back but keep their focus on the goal set for their lives - full happiness and union with God. A plowman who looked back caused his furrow to be crooked. “Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understand­ing, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace - with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556)( copyright (c) 2019 Servants of the Word, source: www. dailyscrip­ture.net, author Don Schwager)

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