When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
Jesus tries to enter a Samaritan village but is unwelcomed. What, his disciples ask, should visitors do to those who do not welcome them? Naturally, Jesus’s friends want to wish them ill, to pray that fire from heaven destroy the village (reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah). But rather than rebuking those who denied hospitality, Jesus rebukes his friends! We must love everyone, not desire the bad for others, including those who are unkind to us.
Thankfully, Jesus does not reign fire from the heavens when we close the doors of our heart to him spiritually, or fail to offer hospitality to him in the guise of the stranger. Instead, we are invited to take a personal inventory and examine our consciences. What parts of my heart am I not sharing with him in prayer? How am I and my community being invited to be a person of hospitality to the tired, weary, and suffering?
—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit Scholastic of the West Province in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ
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