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Persevering to the Cross
Tuesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, my heart thirsts for an encounter with you, but so often I want to meet you on my own turf, according to my own terms. Open my heart to allow myself to be challenged by your word to journey wherever you are leading, not setting the conditions myself, but allowing you to invite me deeper.
- Determined to Journey to Jerusalem: Through intimate prayer with his Father, Jesus came to a clear understanding of the Father’s will. Once he knew his Father’s will, there was not the slightest hesitation on his part. His resolute determination did not arise from a personal attraction to what lay ahead. He was in no way deceived as to the excruciating suffering that awaited him in Jerusalem. Yet, his determination was unfailing. In her writings, St. Teresa of Avila speaks of the importance of having a “determined determination” never to give up prayer. How “determinedly determined” are we to become a saint? How “determinedly determined” are we to fulfill God’s will in our life no matter what?
- He Sent Messengers Ahead of Him: The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. Their motives were based on cultural tensions of the times: Samaritans and Jews purely and simply did not mix. Yet, what these Samaritans did not realize was that they were turning away their Lord God and Savior for something as trivial as a centuries-old tradition of resentment and prejudice. How often for us, too, a multitude of reasons present themselves for turning away the Lord’s advances in our lives. Jesus’s steps were pointed in the direction of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was the place of the cross. We easily find excuses to refuse Our Lord’s invitations because they bring us uncomfortably close to the cross. We forget that the “Jerusalem” Jesus invites us to can also be the source of the fullness of life for us.
- Fire to Consume Them?: James and John, together with the rest of the apostles, had still not come to see things as God sees them. They failed to understand that God does not work in human hearts, or in the world at large, by force. The only force he uses is that of love. The Samaritans were not to be converted through a show of brute power. In fact, Jesus knew that the way to transform their hearts lay precisely in continuing down the road to their redemption, to the point of drinking the chalice that was his to drink. Let us join Our Lord on his path toward Jerusalem, and perhaps, instead of focusing on the attitudes of those around us, allow God to transform our hearts and teach us to love to the ultimate consequences, as he did.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you journeyed resolutely toward Jerusalem, knowing that your Passion and death awaited you there. Grant me a “determined determination” to embrace the invitation to follow you to its final consequences. Give me the strength to desire not only holiness, but also the path necessary to reach it. Help me to keep my eyes set on you no matter what.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will practice fortitude as the opportunity presents itself in my day.
For Further Reflection: Reread the words from the popular hymn Lift High the Cross.
Teresa Williams grew up in the Detroit, Michigan, area. She felt God’s call to consecrate her life to him at a young age and has been living out her vocation as a consecrated member of Regnum Christi since 2002. She has earned degrees in education and religious sciences, and worked with young people in Ireland and several cities in Mexico. Currently, she is living and working in Monterrey, Mexico.