Reading the gospel text for this Sunday (Lk.9:51-62, 13th Sunday, Year C) someone could explain with a touch of humour: “This is a mixed bag!” Indeed, we find in those few verses all kinds of ideas. More than one theme is presented to our reflection:
• Jesus resolute march to Jerusalem as the time of his passion draws near.
• The frustration of James and John faced with the Samaritans’ refusal to allow them to pass through their territory, their anger and desire to retaliate.
• A man’s desire to be a disciple of Jesus, perhaps without enough discernment.
• Two other individuals called by Jesus to follow him who make excuses for their delay and Jesus’ reply to each one of them.
As I look at the different people and the attitude of each one of them, I realize that, in fact, they represent much of what makes up our daily life: determination, frustration, anger, desire to take revenge, generosity, hesitation to commit ourselves… Yes, all this, and much more, makes up our personal experience from day to day.
What is wonderful is that God makes use of all of this to fashion us into the people he want us to become… if only we allow him to do so. No material is too coarse, no attitude is too rebellious, nobody is too unworthy – God’s grace is sufficient to transform all human experience into building material for the kingdom! Paul had assured the Christians of Rome – and it remains ever true: « By turning everything to their good God co-operates with those who love him » (Roma.8:28). Everything? Absolutely!