REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
September 23, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Luke 9:5
As Jesus “sent his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick” He still remain at the center of their mission. This two-fold mission is interesting. How does it relate to the mission that the Apostles will begin to carry out on Pentecost? Is proclaiming “the Kingdom of God” the same thing as proclaiming the Gospel? Why does Jesus here give the Apostles power to heal the sick, but not to raise the dead?
Although a book could be written trying to answer these questions, reflect today on the way in which you yourself have been sent by God in the past, and may be sent for a new mission today or very soon. At any point on one’s earthly journey, the Lord can surprise you with a new request. Like the Hebrews at the first Passover, we must be ready to move as the Lord asks.
In sending them out, Jesus also instructs them on how to deal with rejection that comes with the mission. In our bible reference above, we see a bold statement from Jesus. A statement that should bolden us in the face of opposition.
Jesus had just finished telling His disciples to go from town to town preaching the Gospel. He instructed them not to bring extra food or clothing on the journey but, rather, to rely upon the generosity of those to whom they preach. And He acknowledged that some will not accept them. As for those who do in fact reject them and their message, they are to “shake the dust “from their feet as they leave the town.
What does this mean? It especially tells us two things. First, when we are rejected it can hurt. As a result, it’s easy for us to sulk and stew over the rejection and hurt. It’s easy to sit and be angry and, as a result, to allow the rejection to do us even more damage.
Shaking the dust from our feet is a way of saying that we ought not allow the hurt we receive to affect us. It’s a way of making a clear statement that we will not be controlled by the opinions and malice of others. This is an important choice to make in life when facing rejection.
Secondly, it’s a way of saying that we must keep moving on. Not only do we have to get over any hurt we have, but we need to then move on to seek out those who will receive our love and our message of the Gospel. So, in a sense, this exhortation from Jesus is not first about dealing with the rejection of others; rather, it’s primarily about seeking out those who will receive us and will receive the message of the Gospel we are called to give.
Reflect, today, upon any hurt you still carry in your heart because of the rejection of others. Try to let go of it and know that God is calling you to seek out others in love so that you can share the love of Christ with them.
Lord, when I experience rejection and hurt, help me to let go of any anger I have. Help me to continue with my mission of love and to keep sharing Your Gospel with those who will receive it. Jesus, I trust in You.