“He sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:52-53)
There is one lesson to learn from the way Jesus reacted to rejection by the Samaritans in today’s Gospel passage. He would not allow the sons of thunder, James and John, to call down fire from heaven to burn them. He even rebuked them for saying such. All Jesus did was ask them to go to another village.
Of course, when we intend good for people only for them to throw it at our faces, we have every reason to be angry. However, Jesus teaches us today that walking away in such situations is the best thing to do. Like James and John, the average human reaction to rejection is to call down fire on people, but what good is that?
If you wanted to help them in the first place, you would betray your goodness when you turn around to destroy them with the fire of your anger. Sometimes, the best thing to do for someone you love is to walk away when your love is rejected. Fighting the same person you love for refusing to love you shows you never loved that person. As St. Paul teaches us, love (if it is true) never comes to an end. (Cf. 1st Corinthians 13:8).
Whether we like it or not, we all will experience one form of rejection or another as long as we live in a world where freedom of choice exists. So rather than avoid rejection at all costs and become people pleasers (which is worse), we need to prepare ourselves ahead for rejection and find ways to heal ourselves when it happens.
On the cross, Jesus said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). When people reject you, it does not mean you are worthless; it simply means they are ignorant of your worth. Excuse them and move on.
Today, we remember Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), a French Catholic who became a Carmelite nun early. She died in obscurity at the age of 24. However, after her death, her autobiography – Story of a Soul, was published and became a best-seller around the world. Her books explained her spiritual path of love and selflessness, and she became one of only three females considered a Catholic Church doctor.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, help me give my best no matter how little others may appreciate it. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Zechariah 8:20-23, Ps. 87, Luke 9:51-56).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu