My way or the Highway – Wednesday, 26th Week in ordinary time – Lk 9:57-62
The journey to Jerusalem will not be free of trials either for Jesus or the Christian. We are told that Jesus “set His face to go to Jerusalem” and since the Samaritans and Jews could never know a day without hatred for each other, Jesus who in this Gospel has come for all also faces rejection from all. Yet to the wrathful thoughts of revenge that pass by the lips of the ‘sons of thunder’ against the Samaritans, James and John find themselves rebuked by Jesus for their behaviour. (References to the text preceding today’s)
Jesus sets upon himself to teach the twelve what the cost of discipleship entails. He does this with the help of three hyperbolic proverbs (Chreiae or brief sayings in Greek). The function of a proverb is to help people make sense out of life, to show how the world coheres, e.g., spare the rod and spoil the child. In this pericope Jesus uses HYPERBOLE or EXAGGERATION to jolt the listeners out of their staid ways of ordering their universe and to view existence from an entirely new angle, that of discipleship in response to the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus. (JBC)
Many have tried to understand these three proverbs literally and treated them as though they must be lived exactly as said by Jesus. To do that would be foolishness, to say the least, for the intention of Jesus is clear; to stress that nothing should come in the way of a disciple once he or she has said her yes to the kingdom.
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