13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Setting His Face

(Adults, for the 3-6 year old, I consider simply the first verses of the Gospel reading. You could begin by reading these verses aloud to the child. )


Luke 9.51-62


For a long time, Jesus teaches in Galilee. This is the part of the land of Israel where he lived as a child with Mary and Joseph. Jesus walks from town to town, teaching about the Kingdom of God. People follow him. They love him. They want to know more.

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Now, though, there is a change. "When the days drew near," the Word of God says. What does that mean, days drawing near? When we wait for something important, it feels like the days of its coming are far away. We ask, "When? When?" and we might be told, "Friday" or "Sunday" or "September"—but does that help? Not really. All we know is that the time is far off.


But, the longer we wait, the day comes nearer. We ask, "When? When?" and we are told, "Soon." Soon the wait will be over. The days draw near.

When the days drew near for him to be taken up

What does that mean? Where is Jesus taken up? We know that before God fills him with Risen life—life that does not end in death—Jesus is taken up on the cross. We know he dies on the cross.

he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus turns and begins to walk towards Jerusalem. He cannot see it yet, but his face is set, his eyes look toward Jerusalem as he walks. In Jerusalem, the most holy city in Israel, Jesus dies. In Jerusalem, the most holy city, Jesus rises to new life never to die again. This is important work. It is necessary. This is the work of the Kingdom of God.


Jesus is focused. He is determined. This is his work. He sets his face to go to Jerusalem.


Some people do not like this work.

they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.

They do not want him to go to Jerusalem. They do not want him to die on the cross. They do not know what we know: after he dies on the cross, God fills him with Risen life, never to die again. They do not know that he shares that Risen life with us. This is important work. It is necessary. This is the work of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is focused. He is determined. This is his work. He sets his face to go to Jerusalem.


People try to distract him, but they cannot. He has set his face.


What about us? We carry the light of the Risen life of Jesus in us. We receive it at Baptism. Can we also then set our face for the Kingdom of God?

Sometimes we can. Sometimes we get so focused on our work that we cannot be distracted. It is important. It is necessary. It is the work of the Kingdom of God.




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