Let me call your attention to its having been Luke who gave us today’s Gospel. You know, of course that he also composed “The Acts of the Apostles.” People who know about such things, tell us that Luke’s use of the Greek Language was superior to that of the other authors of New Testament Books. They say he was a stylist in the way he arranged his material.
What has me mentioning that now is that today’s Gospel is part of a fine symmetry in Luke’s writing. In today’s Gospel and throughout his Gospel Luke spoke of Jesus slowly, and majestically making is way up to Jerusalem. Then, in his “Acts of the Apostles” we have a reverse of that: the action begins in Jerusalem, then works out to the ends of the earth.
We look fondly on the brothers James and John in this story. Jesus had settled power on them, and it went to their heads. Here they were like kids shouting, “Hey dad, watch what I can do!” It was typical of them that they wanted to call down fire on the towns that would not welcome them. The other Apostles had nicknamed them Boanerges, which was Aramaic for “Sons of Thunder.”
Little did they suspect that one of them, James, would be the first to die; and one of them, John, would live the longest.