The E-catechism: November 2001

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  Toward Jerusalem through Samaria





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Toward Jerusalem through Samaria

"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.  Jérusalem

And sent messengers before his face: and they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him. And they did not receive him because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did. But he turned and rebuked them, and said,: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's life, but to save them. And they went to another village. Luke 9, 51-56.

Right at the beginning, we know: Jesus is going to be "received up" from this world, and that will be painful. It took him a certain amount of courage to go to Jerusalem. Behind his disciples were afraid; the Master did not try to hide the dangers.

But Jesus did not speak only to his twelve disciples; he was questioning any body, "one person and another again…." It depends on us to go toward the City where our heart can change. And anyhow we have to carry on, including through some unexpected ways, such as this required way through Samaria. And there, the Apostles and we have a lot to learn.

In countries with different religions, different churches or with no religion, the acts of welcome or lack of sympathy quickly become important. James and John, the "sons of thunder" are ready to destroy the heretics who say no to the passing Messenger.

A Jew like the others are thinking the Samaritans who have their own religious rites, their point of view; they are equally the victims of their intolerant behavior or of their blindness.  Intolérance, aveuglement

How could they imagine that this Unknown is going to the hostile city to break the veil of the Temple and to open to them the future they are longing for?

Then Jesus took the time to reply, and abruptly made them understand that the crusades were not in his plan. He was saying before his departure: "Any body that is not against you is for you" Luke 9, 50. We can see how much the faith in the God of Jesus differs from the public opinion of an intolerant, imperialist and uncompromising faith.

terrain privilégié  Sure, intolerance is not intrinsically linked to faith, even though intolerance can find in religion a privileged place to be developed, because it is often in religion that the most ascertained feelings of the absolutes can find their roots, with God requisitioned as a bail. 

Above all, intolerance is a structure of the mind that gives rise to some simplistic reasoning: truth is unique and not compatible with error, by grace or by acquisition I have it, truth is identified to what is obvious to me or for what I stand. And all those who do not accept it, have to be forced or annihilated. Which institution, which philosophy, which party has not its own fundamentalists who send to hell any kind of Samaritans? To go through Samaria and to accept to "go to another village" instead of destroying those who are different of us, it is to penetrate into the land of non-violence, a necessary prelude to the discovery of the Jerusalem without boundaries, a city of peace.

It is always time to go through Samaria.