Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
As we hear the story of Jesus’ travels with His disciples in today’s Gospel, I am struck with Jesus’ enormous patience with His followers. James and John want call down a heavenly fire-ball on a town that rejects Jesus. They believe the townspeople has insulted Jesus by not welcoming Him, and their immediate reaction is a desire for a kind of cosmic revenge. Jesus corrects them and they move on, but I can imagine His initial internal reaction – “Fire from Heaven? Really? Have you not listened to anything I have said in our years together, peace, love, reconciliation?”
In his encounters with three would-be disciples on the road Jesus does not paint a rosy picture of what it is required to be His follower. To be a follower of Jesus means having less security and comfort than a wild animal. It means forsaking the most natural of human instincts, to prioritize one’s family, to proclaim the Gospel to strangers. It means committing to always looking forward, focusing all one’s intention and attention on the Kingdom of God. Interestingly, the Gospel does not record the reaction of the three potential recruits. Do they embrace the conditions of discipleship and follow Jesus, or is His honesty off putting?
In a way, this allows us to put ourselves in the story, to ask ourselves if we are willing to make the sacrifices of discipleship? When I am overwhelmed by the daunting aspects of my own call to discipleship, I am inspired and encouraged by the example of our own St. Junipero. He more than embraced all the difficulties Jesus describes. He sacrificed security and stability to come to a New World, leaving behind his own family to bring the Good News of God’s love to strangers, and his motto of “always forward, never back” was more than words, it was an attitude that allowed him to overcome countless adversities and keep his focus on the joy of his call to service. I hope the same for all of us.
I wish you and your loved ones continued blessings of good health, new hope, and great inspiration,
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