TOWARD THE END OF SEPTEMBER Jesus left Capernaum for Nazareth. He found His brethren making preparations for their trip to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Though they had no faith in Him, they invited Jesus to go with them to Jerusalem and stake His fortunes on a public manifestation. But He said to them:
“My time has not yet come, but your time is always at hand. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I bear witness concerning it, that its works are evil. As for you, go up to the feast, but I do not go up to this feast, for My time is not yet fulfilled.”
So Jesus remained behind when His relatives set out on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The time for His public entrance into the Holy City was months distant.
When He finally left, about a week after the others, He avoided the usual pilgrim route (through the Perea) and made directly for Jerusalem across Samaria. To insure accommodations, He sent some of the disciples ahead to the town where they were to spend the night. When the Samaritans recognized the disciples were Jewish pilgrims, however, they refused to receive them. James and John asked Christ to punish this affront but He rebuked them instead:
“You do not know of what manner of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
About this time a Scribe came to Jesus and said he would follow Him wherever He went. But Jesus replied:
“The foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
To another aspirant, who wished first to bury his dead father, He said:
“Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but do thou go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And to a third, who wished first to say farewell to his family, Jesus replied:
“No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Meditation: The way we react to opposition often indicates how well we have understood the meaning of Christ’s teaching. When the disciples were refused lodging, they wanted Christ to call down fire from heaven and to destroy the inhospitable Samaritans. But Christ reminded them that His followers were to save men, not to destroy them. Christ would remind us of the same thing when we are vindictive and want to “get even with” those who have injured us.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 121-122. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.