In today’s Gospel Our Lord has to remind James and John, after a Samaritan village disrespected Our Lord and his disciples, that he wants salvation, not fulmination. The Old Testament has some rousing accounts of fulmination; Elijah called down fire on soldiers who’d come to him with attitude (see 2 Kings 1:10-12). James and John obviously wanted to relive the “glory days” of prophetism where the wicked were blown away, but that’s just a remnant of a mentality of the Messiah as someone who is coming to “clean house.”
It’s the Old Testament for a reason. You don’t bring Good News by calling down divine wrath. You bring Good News by announcing that liberation from sin is at hand for those who want it. The Samaritans today didn’t need further punishment; turning their back on the Gospel was worse than fulmination. They didn’t turn their back on Our Lord because he was the Messiah, but because they were at enmity with Jews in general. The results are the same: the grace of God passed them by.
Our charity, even when it is slighted, can open the door to grace for a soul. Let’s take Our Lord’s lesson to heart today and focus more on sharing the Good News and less on fulmination. Little by little that charity can win over even the most hardened soul.
Readings: Job 3:1–3, 11–17, 20–23; Psalm 88:2–8; Luke 9:51–56.