Back-to-school season is in full swing. Flexibility of “summer hours,” long weekends and family vacations are coming to an end. Television networks are promoting fall line-ups and theater companies are soliciting patrons for new seasons. Each will attempt to retell familiar stories from what they hope are new and provocative points of view. After praying through the end times of Matthew’s gospel in August, this week we return to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry through Luke’s perspective.
In today’s episode Jesus arrives in Capernaum after being run out of his hometown for being someone other than who the community thought he should be because of his family origins. His stirring preaching on that particular Sabbath prompts Simon to invite Jesus home for supper. Healing ensues. As a new day begins Jesus faces a decision. Should he choose to stay and set up shop in this place of welcome where his gifts for preaching and healing are appreciated? Or should he continue with an itinerant life, sharing his gifts with others despite the uncertainty and hardship certain to follow?
Jesus chooses the journey. Living into the unfolding of his mission he will learn by doing and being attentive, following the path that is bearing fruit. Before I settle into fall routines, can I reflect on my circumstances and ask Jesus to renew my own sense of mission? Where and to whom am I being sent? How does Jesus want to work through my life and presence to proclaim the good news, to bring hope and to heal?
—Ms. Jenéne M. Francis is the provincial assistant for pastoral ministries for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Society of Jesus.