REFLECTION FOR TODAY
July 8, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” Matt. 10:14-15
When Jesus sent the twelve on their first preaching mission, He gave then a very expensive set of command. In our gospel reference today he instructions them about what they are to do if they preach the Gospel in a town and are rejected. They are to “shake the dust” from their feet.
At first, this can seem somewhat harsh. One can think that patience, ongoing discussions, gentleness and the like would be more effective. And though that may be the case in many of our experiences today, the fact remains that Jesus gave the Twelve this command.
This instruction was given in the context of those among the chosen ones who know and teaches the law and the prophet but still refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah. So, the act of shaking the dust from the feet was not done out of an irrational anger. They were not to do so because their pride was wounded by rejection or because of their disdain for these people.
Rather, the Apostles were to do so as a way of showing the consequences of the townspeople’s actions. When these towns of the chosen people rejected the promised Messiah, they needed to understand the consequences. They needed to know that by rejecting the messengers, they were rejecting the saving grace of the Gospel.
First of all, it’s important to consider those about whom Jesus was speaking. He was speaking about those who “will not receive” nor even “listen” to the message of the kingdom. These are those who have fully rejected God and His saving message. They, by their free choice, have separated themselves from God.
What is your vision of the kingdom? Do you hesitate to bring certain aspects of your life to Jesus? Are you afraid he might condemn you or are you ashamed of your past? The fact remains that Jesus came to save. He is for us and not against us.
The teaching of Jesus about the kingdom should also open your eyes. How fully do you receive and listen to the message of the Gospel? How attentive are you to the saving proclamation of God’s Kingdom? To the extent that you are open, the floodgates of God’s mercy flow forth. But to the extent that you are not, the experience of loss is encountered.
Reflect, today, upon your being present in one of these towns. Consider the many ways that you have been closed to all that God wants to speak to you. Open your heart wide open, listen with the utmost attentiveness, be humble before the message of the Gospel and be ready to receive it and to change your life as you do. Commit to being a member of the Kingdom of God so that all that God speaks to you will have a transforming effect upon your life.
Lord, Your firmness and chastisements are an act of Your utmost mercy for those who are hard of heart. Please soften my heart, dear Lord, and when I am stubborn and closed, please rebuke me in Your great love so that I will always turn back to You and Your saving message with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.