In today's Gospel, the Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because his destination was Jerusalem. Jesus' destination hit a nerve with his audience. The age-old animosity between the Jewish people and the Samaritans had to do with a dispute as to whether the Jerusalem temple, revered by the Jewish people, or the Samaritan temple, located near Mt. Gerizim, was built according to the Mosaic law. When the Samaritan village learned that Jesus had "set his face" toward Jerusalem they refused to welcome him.
This is a powerful metaphor for those of us who seek to follow Christ in our daily life. Jesus was traveling the road that many Jewish people would take to visit the temple. Jesus' destination, however, was not the temple, it was the cross. Jesus is the temple; He is also the way, the road that leads to life -- but only after the cross.
Just as Jesus' destination was a source of discomfort for those around him, sometimes our "destination" can provoke the same reaction -- especially when He is our destination! Have we ever felt a sense of distance from certain people in our lives because of the choices that we have made? Perhaps we did not laugh at an unkind remark or an inappropriate joke; maybe we offered a word of defense for an absent coworker who was a victim of detraction. Has it been our experience that we are ridiculed for going to Church or for taking time during our lunch hour to pray or attend Mass? It may be the case that we have lost friends or experienced pain in relationships because of our decision to follow Christ closely.
Jesus was rejected because he was on his way to Jerusalem; he was on his way to do the Father's will. We should not be surprised when our journey as disciples-on-the-way takes us places where we experience rejection and suffering -- all on account of our destination. This is the pilgrim journey of every Christian. This is the road that Our Lord walked before us and this road, has been made sacred by his footsteps. This is the way. It is the way of the Cross and it is the way of every Christian.
"Love and death are so mingled in the Passion of Our Savior that we cannot have the one in our heart without the other. Upon Calvary one cannot have life without love, nor love without the death of our Redeemer."
St. Francis de Sales