Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is an adventure novel written by French author Alexandre Dumas. It is one of the author’s more popular works, along withThe Three Musakteers. The story takes place in France, Italy, and islands in the Mediterranean during the historical events of 1815–1839.  It begins on the day that Napoleon left his first island of exile, Elba, beginning the Hundred days  period, when Napoleon returned to power. This historical setting is a fundamental element of the book, an adventure story centrally concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. It centres on a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune, and sets about exacting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. One by one he looks for his enemies and destroys them. We have a long experience of this in our history. Also in our modern world we often hear about the rivalry between the different gangs. Revenge is a very natural sentiment.  When we have been hurt or humiliated by someone there is a natural desire to seek revenge.  In today’s gospel, we have a beautiful scene. Jesus and his apostles are passing through Samaria;  and the Samaritans do not offer them hospitality, because they are a different religion.  James and John are very angry,  and they want to bring fire down from heaven and destroy the Samaritans.  And Jesus says no.  This is not his way of doing things. Jesus never seeks revenge; even  when he was dying on the cross,  even when he was beng mocked by his enemies,  he did not say ‘one day you will pay for this’;  rather he prayed ‘Father forgive them’.  He said this prayer not just for them, who were mocking him, but for us also.  He wipes away our sins.  He never seeks revenge for what we have done.  We sometimes too may feel the desire for revenge,  especially when we are humiliated and hurt by others.  When this happens, let us imitate the spirit of mercy which Jesus taught us.  When we do this, we will be the first to benefit,  because we will free our hearts from the chains of hatred and bitterness.