Shake the Dust From Your Feet
7/07/2022 Gospel Reflection
"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." (Mt. 10:13-14)
In today's reflection, Jesus sends the Apostles out to proclaim, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt. 10:7). If we read a few verses earlier, this is the "first commission," and it was strictly for the lost sheep of Israel. "Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mt 10:5-6) St. Jerome provides some insight into the first commission and writes,
"It was necessary first to warn the Jews of the arrival of the Messiah amongst them; otherwise, they might have excused themselves for having rejected him by saying, "He had sent his apostles to preach, no to them but to the Gentiles and Samaritans."
Matthew Chapter 10 deals with the challenges that lay ahead for the Apostles. "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Mt. 10:16). It is evident that many will not accept the message of the Apostles, and for this, they must shake the dust from their feet, and move forward. The journey does not stop, however, and when we get to the "Great Commission," Jesus tells the Apostles to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:15-16).
As Christians, we now must spread and evangelize the Gospel to everyone. Of course, it is no easy task, as many in the secular world today are moving farther away from the words of Christ, but that cannot stop us. In evangelization, I believe there are many ways and different methods to help spread the word. We are all unique, and while some Christians have a more aggressive approach, some have a softer approach. Whatever the style, and regardless of whether we like or dislike someone's approach, I believe it is our Christian duty for each person to use the unique gifts God has given us to spread the Gospel.
In Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World), Paul VI writes. "There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed" (EN 22).
My message and reflection today is to proclaim that God can use each of us as he used the Apostles. The hard part, of course, is many will not listen, many will laugh, and many will not receive you. You might lose some friends, some Twitter followers, and even family members in this spiritual battle. Do not lose hope; shake the dust from your feet when someone does not welcome your message and continue your walk toward God's Kingdom.
Missio Dei is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.