As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent ahead of him some messengers, who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for him. But the people would not receive him, because he was on his way to Jerusalem. Seeing this, James and John, his disciples, said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.
In the Gospel, Jesus was resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem and offer his life for our salvation. Despite the hardness of the hearts of men, Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem to bridge the gap between man and God.
On his way, he entered a Samaritan village. However, he was rejected and the “sons of thunder” James and John asked Jesus to call down fire from heaven to consume the place in anger. Jesus teaches his two apostles how to respond in a hostile environment in the course of their missionary activity. He leads the ways of tolerance and non-aggression for his disciples. These two apostles feigned strength; in truth, they were weak for they were easily upset and agitated, tempted to uproot the seeds of faith which Jesus had started. Instead of fundamentalism and intolerance, Jesus teaches us that evangelization is not about destruction nor imposition.
Transformation comes from the renewal within; it comes from a loving heart in the freedom that responds to God’s love, mercy, and compassion.