XIII Sunday in Ordinary Time
30 June 2019
How many of you use a GPS – especially on long trips in the car? It is super helpful… except when it doesn’t work! In a recent article on this topic, drivers Colorado were diverted to an alternate route after running into construction on the highway that leads to the Denver airport. Google maps GPS took them down a dirt road, but because of the rain they had been getting many people got stuck… over 100 drivers where caught in this “shorter alternate route” that basically lead to a muddy field! One lady commented: “the GPS said it was OK…but it was not OK.”
St. Luke tells us today that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem…” But this is not an accurate translation. It should read instead: “he resolutely set his face to Jerusalem.” There is a difference here. First, lets look at what exactly Luke means by ‘resolutely’ – he’s talking about determination. This marks a turning point in Luke’s gospel … the journey to Jerusalem is a death march in which Jesus will fulfill His mission. From this point forward in Luke everything points toward this purpose of His life … He was unwavering in His decision to go to Jerusalem. But what about the phrase “set his face” … It wasn’t just that Jesus was determined, purposeful, unwavering … you could see it on His face. His determination was visible. It is as if Luke is telling that there was a look about Him – He knew where He was going and what He was doing. And what exactly does He do along the way … invites people to join Him. The Samaritans refuse to receive Him and the others just don’t understand it … they are too distracted.
Now, these expressions – “set his face” and invitations to discipleship; to place discipleship above every other duty … care for self, care for the dead, and care for family … could be placed in the realm of hyperbole. Meaning, we may not read them literally but St. Luke is making a definite point. For us, as Catholics, disciples in our time of Jesus Christ … can we say that our determination to follow the Lord, to obey the Commandments, strive for holiness, to get to heaven … is that visible? Can people see it in us … the way we live our lives, how we interact with one another … is ‘Catholic’ written on our faces? Or are we among the distracted? I can tell you that when people know that you go to church, they know that so-and-so is a priest or a nun and you’re distracted, they question your sincerity. They don’t take you seriously. But when the faith is written on your heart, when it is visible … it has the power to draw people, it is contagious.
Jesus knows where He is going … often we don’t… We know where He leads, we know the end of the story … and yet we can still get so distracted by the busyness of life that we lose sight of Him. All the more reason to be more purposeful, determined, unwavering in the practice of our faith… But how do we do it? What does it look like? First we must be convinced that Jesus is the Lord of our lives and that our mission is to be with Him in heaven … we have to be convinced that where He leads, we are to follow. Second, maybe it means upping our game a bit … being more courageous in speaking about faith, the blessings of our lives… taking the time to pray more – stop in church for a visit (church open every day), pray with and for our families, to speak with kindness, to lend a hand, to offer a blessing … In these ways and in others Christ becomes more visible … is He in you? Can He be seen in you? Are people willing to follow because your destination is eternal life?