St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

 

They entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there. 

 

Maybe you’ve heard this expression:   “The Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint.”

No, there’s nothing wrong with the Queen of England’s nose.   It’s just that, when she visits a town, her people make sure the locals work hard to spruce things up.   The landscaping is freshly groomed.   Highways are swept clean.   Painters splash color onto walls.   Everyone tries to look their best for their monarch.

Contrast this with Jesus.   When he sent messengers ahead into Samaria, he didn’t instruct them to beautify it—not even to renovate the local religious practices.   He simply told them to proclaim good news:   Jesus the King was coming to visit (Luke 9:6).

But when James and John encountered opposition in one particular village, their tempers flared.   They had missed that Jesus was prepared to enter these villagers’ messy lives with the power to heal them.

Just like the messengers in today’s Gospel (Luke 9:52), Jesus is sending you out “ahead” of his coming.   Your assignment is to help prepare the people around you for his reception.   It’s not as hard as you might think.

First, focus on loving people right where they are.   Don’t wait for them to renovate their lives.   And don’t pressure or nag them either.   Trust that Jesus can use your small acts of kindness and love to prepare them for a deeper relationship with him.

Second, bring good news.   When the time is right, share about the difference Jesus has made in your life.

Finally, don’t be offended if people aren’t ready to hear about Jesus.   After all, Jesus didn’t hold a grudge against the Samaritans.   He even healed a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:16)!   Then, after Jesus’ resurrection, his disciples went again into Samaria to proclaim the gospel (Acts 8:25).

So keep sowing seeds of love in the people around you.   And pray for a harvest!   In time, they will be ready to receive their King.

“Lord, please use my small acts of love to prepare your way.”

Zechariah 8:20-23
Psalm 87:1-7

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