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Keep your eyes on the goal
We have two really dramatic scenes in the readings today, or at least a description of one and the reality in the gospel. But they’re connected, I think, in some way.
The first reading is a promise of what awaits the people of God. that people will be, they’re in exile, so this is the thing. They’re not in Israel, they’re not in their homeland, and they’re in exile. So they are probably longing on some level to go back to Jerusalem, although we know that some, because it was quite some time, had kind of gotten used to where they were living and liked to stay there.
But the scene that’s described is quite dramatic. Those Jews that will return to Israel are going to be so desired that people are going to grab onto them and say, “Bring us with you, for we know that God is with you.” That’s really our, both our charge and our hope. Bring us with you.
You know, there was a bishop in Burlington who used to say, “Don’t go to heaven alone. Take someone with you.” And he was a way of trying to get people to talk about Jesus in their lives.
The gospel is a situation where James and John forget the ultimate promise. Jesus is doing the will of God. He’s going to Jerusalem. Now that really means he’s going knowing he will be killed and dying there. So it’s not a happy journey.
James and John react the way many of us would. They’re not welcomed in Samaria. They may or may not have an idea of what Jesus is going on to encounter, but they want to call down fire to destroy them. Now I would love to be able to do that, but at least with certain people, you’re not among them.
But Jesus knows the end. He knows the purpose. Just like Ezekiel expresses the end in the first reading, Jesus knows the end in the gospel. Let us always strive in our own lives that even when things are not going so well, we might keep the end of our lives, goal of our lives, Heaven, and an ultimate relationship with Jesus ever before us.
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