When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.
When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
On a lonely path
Have you ever felt alone on your path?
Jesus surely felt this way often. While he had gathered a group of friends around himself, and they seem to have spent a great deal of time together, they still struggled to understand who he truly was. They were often distracted by their own desires, not inspired by his.
Jesus “set his face” to follow the will of God and go to Jerusalem. He was “resolutely determined” (NAB translation). Jesus knew his destiny, yet he obeyed the will of the Father.
A favorite statue of St. Ignatius depicts him leaning into a strong headwind. He was resolute to go wherever Jesus called him to go, even in times of struggle.
The headwinds of our lives often evoke responses like those of the followers of Jesus. We say we want to do what Jesus did, but that may lead us down a lonely path.
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, is completing his term as president of Loyola High School in Detroit and will soon leave for his tertianship experience in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lord Jesus, may our hearts be filled with gratitude that you have set your face to do the will of the Father: to love us, even when we fail to truly understand your will. Help us be resolute in following you wherever you lead and, in so doing, love others as you do.
—Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ