From the Deacon’s Desk | June 26, 2022| Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.”
~ Luke 9:51
This weekend’s Gospel reading begins with the so-called travel narrative, which constitutes a significant and central portion of Luke’s Gospel. Though these travel narrative chapters consist mainly of Jesus’ teaching, with fewer miracle stories than in the previous chapters, we can gain inspiration for our discipleship journey by recounting our Savior’s journey to Jerusalem. We find Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” Ten chapters later, in chapter 19, He enters the Temple, an action that is a catalyst for Jesus’ capture, His Jerusalem ministry, passion, and death on a cross.
Two common questions confront most of us today: Are you satisfied with the direction our culture is moving? Are you happy with the direction your life is heading? We may ask ourselves these questions as we watch or read the news from around the world or the happenings in our own country. We may ask ourselves these questions when we take a few moments to assess personal decisions we have made, the subsequent trajectories those actions put into motion, and their consequences. We might reflect upon some of these choices with satisfaction and others with regret or sadness. Regardless, remember that none of us are perfect. And Jesus doesn’t want us to get tripped over our past. He calls us to look forward with a relentless desire to bring about positive change in our hearts, lives, and world! So, ask yourself, what in your past is determining your future?
Centering our focus on Christ is the simplest way to find peace and purpose. When we make Jesus our center, anything that doesn’t serve His purpose disappears. The Great St. Augustine tells us, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Augustine lived quite a life on his way to sainthood, allowing himself to experience about every pleasure this world offers, yet, he never felt satisfied. However, Augustine eventually realized that the world’s broken promises would not bring him happiness. He turned to God and, at that moment, turned his whole life around.
Like Augustine, we have all made similar poor choices, yet Jesus continues to call us on our unique journey of discipleship. Every day is a gift, with an invitation to make Jesus our Northstar, thereby changing or clarifying the direction our lives are heading. Don’t miss your chance! The warm summer weather provides opportunities for walks or moments of stillness surrounded by nature’s beauty. And our parish life offers us moments of prayer, worship, fellowship, and discernment. Perhaps the Lord is asking you to come to our Festival of Praise (FOP) this Friday, July 1st, at 7:30 pm, and stay for some outdoor fellowship afterward. Is this something you’ve yet to experience? Could this possibly be the turning point you have been looking for?
Our turning points may not be as dramatic as St. Augustine’s. Still, I pray we all recognize the opportunities in our lives to do something different, something better, with God as our focus.