We all have our disappointments in life. They can range from the inconsequential (the store is out of the brand of laundry soap that I have a coupon for) to the significant (a diagnosis of cancer or another serious illness). And we all deal with disappointments in different ways. Young children are very good at "catastrophizing" a disappointment. Mom's refusal to get that wanted candy bar in the grocery checkout line can lead to a tantrum. But as any mother knows, not giving in to a child's tantrum is teaching a lesson on how to deal with the inevitable disappointments that are part of each person's life.
In this weekend's Gospel, James and John certainly weren't happy that a Samaritan village was not very welcoming to Jesus and his band of disciples. Recall that Samaritans believed that the place to worship God was on Mt. Gerizim, and because Jesus and his disciples were on the way to Jerusalem, the Samaritans were not interested in aiding his mission. Almost like five-year-olds at the candy display at the grocery checkout line, James and John were ready to call down fire from heaven to wipe out the Samaritans. Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke them for their outburst. On the other hand, even Jesus seemed to express his own sense of disappointment when he says in the Gospel to someone who wants to follow him, "The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head" (Lk9:58)
How we deal with disappointment is a sign of maturity. Jesus makes the point in the Gospel that we have to move forward. Letting go of regrets and looking to the future is wholesome everyday advice. But putting those ideas into the realm of faith means that we confess our sins and seek absolution (the letting go) and direct our lives to God's kingdom. It is looking toward our ultimate future, which is eternal life in heaven.BACK TO LIST