13th Sun C
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
The dynamics of Luke's Gospel change with this reading. The opening sentence is like an airline pilot's announcement that we have begun the descent of our journey. Jesus has set his face towards Jerusalem.
Prophetic imagery dominates the passage, with the opening phrase being convoluted and difficult to translate. The term 'fulfilment' refers not just to Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection but includes his ascension and glorification with God. The term for 'being taken up' was used of the prophet Elijah as he disappeared in the whirlwind (2 Kgs 2:1). 'Setting his face' draws on two different prophetic experiences. One the one hand, Ezekiel 'set his face' when he was prophesying against Israel, while, on the other hand, Isaiah 'set his face like flint' against insult.
In a very real sense, the elements of this opening sentence are played out in the vignettes that follow. Jesus rejects the reaction of the James and John to the inhospitality of the Samaritans. They want him to act like Elijah and destroy these people. Jesus rather acts with calm in the face of the insult.
When three people, in differing circumstances, offer to follow Jesus, he makes clear the absolute commitment required of a follower of his. There will be no security of abode. Indeed, the social commitments so integral to Jewish life, care of one's parents and family, are superseded by the demands of the Kingdom. In a very real sense, each and every follower of Jesus is now a 'prophet', living by and witnessing to realities that are not immediately obvious and which will only come to true fulfilment in glory with God.