Of What Spirit am I?
Jesus does not give His disciples permission to answer rejection with rejection…or to volley hatred for hatred until there’s a winner.
It certainly can be a temptation as was the case with James and John in today’s gospel;
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.
I quite like verse 55-56 in the Douay-Rheims translation, which has Jesus answering the ‘sons of thunder’s’ request to call down fire this way;
And turning, he rebuked them, saying:
You know not of what spirit you are.
The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save.
And they went into another town.
When we are treated harshly, unfairly, challenged almost to the point of despair-to the very brink- that is the time to know ‘of what spirit I am,’ otherwise I might take myself to the precipice of the challenge set before me and listen to the tempter whose determination it is not to save souls, but to destroy them…
I might improperly channel my zeal and tempt the grace of God by refusing to follow His Spirit of mercy, grace and humility…
This is what I learn from St Therese of the Child Jesus, who the church honors today. Her ‘Little Way’ was that of a humble child,’ and
“her language was love and mercy”*
St Therese, pray for us to be of the right spirit and like you to realize that
“love is paid by love alone”
- *h/t to Communio for this link to the Catholic Information Service booklet: First Steps on the Little Way of St Therese of Liseaux