|Today in the Gospel reading for Saturday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time, we hear of the disciples on their journey, with Jesus on his journey, moving from Galilee to Jerusalem. They have experienced success as they tell him: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus corrects them a bit, perhaps so they don’t get too pompous. He reminds them to rejoice because their names “are written in heaven.” He goes on to say that the Father has revealed these things “to the childlike.”
Further, he says to the disciples: “blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” He reminds them and us that being child-like, being humble, being a servant…are all crucial qualities.
A question and a theme surface for me, based on other experiences of God on my spiritual journey these days. I offer them in case they are helpful for you, too.
The question in my mind as I focus on this interaction and words of Jesus to his disciples, is about awareness on the journey. How were these disciples open and aware of what God and Jesus were trying to teach them? What were they focused on …. and what weren’t they focused on? For many of us, we may struggle with wanting to experience epiphanies, lessons and realizations from God, and not receiving it, even after praying for an answer. And, also, for many of us, we find that we experience lessons or even ‘successes’ in our spiritual journeys by paying attention, by being open, by being more aware of God’s presence than by our own preferences or will.
A theme for me that also surfaced here with these readings is the idea of journey. The disciples are with Jesus as he journeys toward Jerusalem. They are learning, listening, praying; literally and figuratively walking with him. Having recently participated in an Ignatian pilgrimage with a group of faculty, staff and student pilgrims from around Creighton to Spain and Rome, this notion of being a pilgrim has continued with me even on my return from the pilgrimage, to my regular life. I have been praying to be a companion on the journey with Jesus, as Ignatius was. Being a companion often reveals successes and spiritual lessons. Being a companion is often difficult and involves walking uphill.
I pray for each of us, humble pilgrims on our own journeys (and collective journey) towards God, with Jesus, that we don’t get too disappointed by setbacks or too self-congratulatory about successes. Let us continue to be aware and guided by Jesus as we accompany him in our everyday responsibilities, tasks and steps in this “ordinary time.”