A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Good News Reflection: Time to stay or move on?
In our efforts to help others grow closer to Christ, and in our desire to change our parishes or workplaces when God’s will is not being done, we don’t always succeed. God’s not asking us to. Sometimes, all he wants us to do is plant seeds that new people will fertilize and still others will harvest.
Look at what’s frustrating you today. Do you know if God is asking you to stay or leave?
Jesus makes it clear in our Gospel reading today that first we try — it’s our responsibility, our mission as members of the Body of Christ. And if the message he gives us to share is rejected, we are not supposed to keep trying. He’s not telling us to be quitters; he’s saying: “Don’t force God and the Church upon those who are not ready to hear the truth.”
Forcing them is not loving them, it’s diminishing them. Remember, God never forces us to do anything that he asks of us. And Pope Francis keeps reminding us that we need to be a Church that heals wounds and warms hearts rather than a judgmental force that condemns and pushes people away.
Wherever Jesus sends us to proclaim the kingdom of God, we have to pay attention to whether or not the hearers are open to receiving the truth. If they are not, we have fulfilled our responsibility by making the truth known; now it’s their responsibility to act upon it.
To discern correctly if it’s time to move on, we have to ask the Holy Spirit if what we’re doing has been commissioned by God or if it was our own idea. If it was God’s idea, then we have to ask if this is still what he wants us to do.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and notice the doors of opportunity to which he leads you. See Jesus knocking on the doors of people’s hearts. When a door swings open, walk through it. When a door slams shut, know that Jesus will either help you find a secret passage that will get you inside, or he will tell you to clean off the person’s dirty life from your shoes and he will lead you away from there.
If the latter is true, God already has another plan in mind for that person, and if we keep banging on their door, we’ll only get in the way. And if we bang harder, our hand begins to hurt, so then we beat our heads against the door and get a head-ache. This is not God’s plan!
Moving on could mean literally leaving, or it could mean redirecting our efforts to other people and other ministries while we stay and quietly pray and give unconditional love. If you’re not certain which you’re being called to do, talk to a spiritual director or Christian counselor.
Lord, You have anointed me with Your Spirit to take the Good News to my brothers and sisters. Give me the grace of walking in faith while always trusting You, being aware that everything is in Your hands. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica