Monday, September 27, 2021

Being Different

 "On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they (the Samaritans) would not welcome him....When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?''' Lk 9 51,55

Few passages in the Gospel tell us more about the radical demands of the Gospel than Jesus' refusal to condemn the Samaritans. The laws of hospitality which the rabbis taught were strict. Because Israel was a desert land populated by nomads, travelers and strangers had to be welcomed. By Torah law the Samaritans should have welcomed Jesus and his disciples. But because the rabbis condemned Samaritans, the Samaritans wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Even though the prophet Isaiah reminds his readers to feed the hungry lavishly, the Samaritans, hurt and angry by the failure of the authorities to accept them, reject Jesus and his disciples. Still, Jesus will not condemn them.

Clearly, Jesus' demand that we love our enemies interprets the Torah in a much more radical way and pushes Christians even further. It is one thing to welcome strangers and offer them a bit of bread, it is another altogether to love those who attack you or with whom you have been at war. If God's love for us is going to be announced clearly and dramatically, then Christians have to go the extra mile and let go of our resentments and desire for vengeance in order that God can be known.

Today, love someone who has hurt you.

Who has lived the Gospel most powerfully for you?

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