Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, rebuked them, Follow me
To the point: As Jesus "resolutely determine[s] to journey to Jerusalem," he encounters a number of conflicts. Jesus is not welcome in a Samaritan village, he rebukes disciples who want to take revenge, he predicts the lack of comfort and security for his followers, he chides those who have excuses for not immediately following him. These conflicts arise because the journey to Jerusalem entails death: dying to self in facing this journey's conflicts; death at this journey's end. Nevertheless, the journey must be made—by Jesus, by his disciples, by us—because this is the only journey that leads to life.Connecting the Gospel …
… to the First Reading: Just as the continuation of Elijah's prophetic mission was assured by the call of Elisha, so is the continuation of Jesus' saving mission assured by the call of disciples who follow him on his journey through death to life.
… to experience: Often opposition and conflict enable us to clarify our goals, strengthen our conviction, and increase our courage in pursuit of a vision. So it is with the inevitable conflicts that arise when we follow Jesus on the journey through dying to new life.