In previous weeks, we’ve journeyed with Jesus as he crosses borders, real and ritualistic—from breaking purity laws and bringing a young man back to life, to expanding his family to include all those who act on their faith.

Now, we accompany Jesus as he passes through hostile Samaritan territory on his way to Jerusalem. As always, he has lessons to teach. It strikes me that Jesus “set his face” to go to Jerusalem. Even the Son of God had to stay strong in the face of hardship to reach his final destination. In so doing, Jerusalem becomes the place where Jesus returns home to God and the Christian mission spills out into the world.

When the Samaritans reject Jesus, he refuses to retaliate. We live in a culture that would relish “calling down fire from heaven” to obliterate opponents. But Jesus, the bearer of peace and justice, shows his disciples a better way and leads them to another village. Later, in Acts, Luke shares a kind of payoff: the Samaritans come to accept the Christian Way.

How obedient are we to God’s will? What goals do we strive for with pure resolve? How might we reach our goals without hurting others in the process?

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life