20 Jun Monday June 20
In the Gospel of Luke, the context for this reading follows the Transfiguration and Jesus’ announcement of his death. For him, it would seem the decision has already been accepted and made. Yet, as the disciples who follow him hear these things, they miss the point. They are portrayed squabbling for position of fame and power and their own lack of decisiveness. The rejection of the people of a Samaritan village parallels their own in some way. The last verse (v. 62) summarizes the teaching and attitude of Jesus who urges conviction and faith. Immediately after that last verse Jesus chooses the seventy-two, who he sends for to prepare the way. Their work is not easy and now always accepted.
Here we are culturally in that same sort of indecision. Our hand is set to the plow to open a new field to plant the seeds of the reign of God, first in our own lives, and at the same time, we “look back” to the seductions of this world. As Americans, we are in our comfort zone, politics and economics notwithstanding. It is surely difficult and a great work for us to imagine that there might be something bigger and better for us and the world.
I just returned from an annual meeting of religious and lay people where we found it easier to attend to business and administrative affairs, not taking hardly any time at all to image a new creation for ourselves. All the newsprint on the walls was simply rolled up and recycled, having no discernible influence on anything else we did for that whole week. We were comfortable and unmovable. The was a great deal of talk of where we had been, our “looking back”, while showing little forward looking. One is left to wonder if that isn’t the state of the Church today, especially its hierarchy and its folks yearning for the papacy of Innocent II (13th century). It is bishops who want to call down fire from heaven on the likes of Biden and Pelosi, in a show of earthly power, which is not the power of the Gospel.