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.
Today was another full but wonderful day in the eternal city. We began the day with Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit near St. Peter’s Basilica. Bishop Siegel celebrated the Mass and preached on the beauty of the Archangels.
Then we went on the fantastic Scavi Tour, which is a difficult tour for which to obtain tickets in Rome. One of the American seminarians gave the tour and explained the reasons why we believe that St. Peter’s bones and tomb are directly below the main altar at St. Peter’s Basilica. Even though I have been on this tour before, it was a powerful moment to be in the presence of our first pope, the Rock on which Jesus built His Church.
We followed this with a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, featuring Michelangelo’s Pieta and some mosaics that are breathtaking. Then we toured the Vatican Museums culminating with the Sistine Chapel. We followed all of this with a relaxing dinner and of course, gelato! Tomorrow we are off to Assisi, my favorite place on earth! Be assured of my prayers for you on this outing to the home of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.
Regarding the Gospel for today, I love the image that comes to mind when I read the words “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem….” Jesus did not take His passion and death lightly. And although there might have been fear (he shed blood in the garden), Jesus was determined to finish the mission that the Father had sent Him on – to save us from our sins. That was His goal and He resolved to go through whatever it took out of an intense and incredible love for us.
Take time to let that soak into your heart. Jesus loves you so much that He was willing to endure anything for your sake. Nothing was to keep Him from accomplishing this mission of salvation. Wow!
And while on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus entered a Samaritan village, but He was not welcome because Jews and Samaritans were not friendly toward one another. James and John wanted revenge, but Jesus rebuked them. Jesus was on a mission of love and forgiveness. He was even going to Jerusalem to save people like the Samaritans, who discriminated against Him. He was going to save the disciples, who didn’t understand His mission and were open to violence. He was going to save me and you, sinners though we are, because He loves us.
Take time today to contemplate the depths of Jesus’ love for you. You may want to shy away from this kind of love. You may not feel worthy, and none of us are. But Jesus offers it to us freely, and completely. We don’t deserve anything, especially God’s love, but we should repeat the words of the Centurion, “…only say the word and your servant shall be healed.”
Thank you Lord for your resolute, determined, intense love… Just as you gave yourself completely for me on the cross, let me give myself completely to you by living my life for you.