Jun 26 (Lk 9:51-62)

Saints inspire us greatly.
>> Their example of bold courage and resolute faith, becomes a catalyst in our life of faith, too.

One such example is in the life of St Jane de Chantal.
>> She is the foundress of the Congregation of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary.

St Jane Francis de Chantal, had an extremely distressing difficulty to overcome, when she discovered that God was asking her to start a new religious congregation, together with St Francis de Sales.

Jane, a young French noble woman, had married the Baron of Chantal when she was 20 years old.
>> Deeply in love, they established an estate that was the envy of many people
>> Their enthusiastic marital joy was a product of their love for each other and their love for Christ.

However, she was widowed when she was only 28…
… losing her husband in a hunting accident.

From then on, she dedicated herself more and more to following Christ.
>>  She had become indispensable to her elderly father and father-in-law.

But God was calling her to a different mission.

When she announced her departure, a storm broke.
>> Her friends and family wept and pleaded with her not to go.
>> Villagers lined the streets in tears.

When her last goodbye had been said, her fifteen-year-old son, whom she had provided for and was leaving in the care of his grandfather…
… threw himself around her neck and begged her to stay!

By her tears, Jane reminded him that it was God who was calling her…
… and she stepped towards the door.

Her son, however, rushed ahead and threw his body on the ground in the doorway, still begging her not to leave.
>> In fact, he told her: “Since I am too weak to stop you, you will have to step over your only son to abandon him!”

But Jane knew what God was asking of her.
>> The bishop had approved her plans
>> Her son was also well-provided for (she would also be visiting him regularly)

So, although with a deep pain, shedding tears, the courageous mother…
… stepped over her son and went out the door…
.. and went out of the threshold!

>> She would go on to found 65 new convents…
… and spark a spiritual revival all throughout Europe!

She made a bold decision, filled with conviction and faith!

A bold decision that has the elements of conviction and faith, is a necessity for a renewal and a revolution!

The Gospel of Day takes pride in presenting a determined Jesus, who has made a choice-for-life in moving towards the mission of His life.

“When the days for His being taken up were fulfilled, He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51)

The Gospel of St Luke presents the whole ministry of Jesus as a linear journey…
… a movement from Galilee to Jerusalem.
>> All the events and actions of Jesus are oriented towards Jerusalem.

The verse – Luke 9:51 – signifies a mega shift in the earthly ministry of Jesus.

Jesus leaves the northern area of Israel called as Galilee and moves ahead to the southern area of Israel called as Judea.

Just as the Israelites had the Exodus Event, which marked the beginning of their salvation as a nation…
… Jesus too will have the Exodus Event which culminates in Jerusalem, which will mark the beginning of the salvation of the whole world!

This verse – Luke 9:51 – marks the beginning of the Exodus Event in the life of Jesus.

The verse reads, “… He RESOLUTELY determined to journey to Jerusalem”

The Greek word used for “resolutely” is Sterizo.

“Sterizo” is a strong word…
… which means to strengthen and to establish
… which means to stand firm with one’s decision.

Jesus makes this strong resolution  – “Sterizo”…
… to embrace the vision and plan of God.
… to be obedient to the Will of His Father.

Jerusalem was the place where Jesus was to suffer and die.
>> He was fully determined to go and would not be dissuaded
>> He went cheerfully and courageously though He knew the things that would befall Him.

The Road to Jerusalem was to be marched “resolutely” by Jesus!

All of us walk the Road to Jerusalem…
>> Life with its hard challenges and unexpected troubles is a Road to Jerusalem
>> Life with its spiritual difficulties and luring temptations is a Road to Jerusalem
>> Life with its doses of unforgiveness and bad temperaments is a Road to Jerusalem
>> Life with its continual showers of unpleasantness and irritations is a Road to Jerusalem
>> Life with its allurements to bad habits and hard-to-give up pleasures is a Road to Jerusalem

But unless we make a strong resolute decision to walk through this “Road to Jerusalem”, salvation and victory and happiness can never be ours!

When Jesus decided to go ahead with resoluteness in His decision, He met with rejection!
“…they would not welcome Him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem” (Lk9:53)

The Jews and the Samaritans were much at loggerheads with each other.
>> As we see in Jn 4:20, the great controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans was about the place of worship – whether it was Jerusalem or whether it was Mount Gerizim.

So bitter was the altercation between them that the Jews would have no dealings with the Samaritans, nor they with them (Jn. 4:9).

This is the reality of the world.
>> When one makes a determined decision for life, one is faced with many challenges.
>> When one makes a strong resolution for life, one is faced with many oppositions.

Like the disciples James and John, very often, the answer to this rejection is sought in the form of vengeance and violence and wrath.
>> It is the easier way.
>> It is the more simpler way.
… But it is a destructive way!

Jesus answers this rejection with a better and a powerful weapon: self-sacrifice.
>> “The Son of Man came not to destroy, but to save”…
… through a call to repentance.

>> It is the hard way.
>> It is a the more tough way.
… But it is a saving way!

The answer to life’s problems is not in reacting, but in being pro-active!

Jesus in the Gospel today invites each one of us to have a resolute determination in walking the Road to Jerusalem.

Its easy to pick up shortcuts and easy roads to find success in life.
>> But it takes a resolute decision to walk the hard way…

A bold decision that has the elements of conviction and faith, is a necessity for a renewal and a revolution!
>> The grace of God will strengthen and boost us in this hard path…

>> The Holy Bible is a witness to this great saga of great people who have walked this hard path…including Jesus.
>> Many of the saints have also strongly marched the hard and harsh way of the Cross…including St Jane de Chantal.
… May we seek to imitate them!
… May we be inspired by them!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS
  Bengaluru, India

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