Hosea 11:1-4, 8c-9
Ps 80:2ac, 3b, 15-16
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
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.”
Good News Reflection: Is it time to quit?
Who have you been reaching out to, trying to show by your life and your words that “the reign of God is at hand”, like Jesus commands us to do in today’s Gospel reading? Are they resisting this message? Have you ever failed at helping someone find God’s healing love (“cure the sick”) or new life in him (“raise the dead”) or escape from evil (“expel demons”)?
You are not the failure.
When others continually refuse to respond to the Good News that we share, we need to remember that God has been and will continue to persist in giving them countless opportunities to come out of the tombs of their denial systems. He will keep trying until their final breaths. However, he will not keep trying through you. He does not want to wear you out.
At some point, he will ask you to step aside so that he can bring in someone new to speak for him. He will say, “Enough, dear one! Move on to someone who willlisten to you. I’ll continue my efforts through someone else; it’s time for you to quit. Trust me.” That’s when it’s time to shake the dust from your feet.
The dust on our feet is the grimy ick we pick up from the sinfulness of others — it’s the dirt they’re living in. It’s also our own sinful reactions to their behavior when they reject our help. We have to shake it off. We have to walk to the next “town” clean. It’s important to make time to be alone with Jesus so that he can wash the dust that remains on our feet after the shaking.
A note to those who cannot walk away: In an unhappy marriage, God does not want you to walk away literally (there are other solutions) unless you or the children are being abused or abandoned, and even then, getting away to safety does not necessarily mean divorce. In an unpleasant job, God won’t ask you to quit before leading you to a new work that will meet at least the minimum requirements of your financial responsibilities. In a parish that has divisive problems, God is unlikely to tell you to switch to another parish, because he prefers that you stay to pray and help make changes from within.
Shaking off the dust sometimes means nothing more than moving away from the idea that we are the ones who must save others from their sins.
It can be difficult to let go and let God turn the work over to someone else. It can be just as difficult to stay and keep trying until God says it’s time to quit. To do this right, we must stay closely connected to God, so that we hear him when he says: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You did your best and I am very pleased with you. Now let’s go somewhere else.”
Jesus, sometimes I don’t recognize the exact moment in which I have to step aside and let You work instead of me. May Your Holy Spirit enlighten me for my own sake and for the sake of those You want to reach with Your love. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica