SHAKE OFF THE DUST

As people of faith, we acknowledge Jesus to be the Son of God, our Savior and Lord, the Holy One who reveals the purpose and meaning of our lives and who opens the way to eternal life. We recognize Jesus as the true source of spiritual wisdom.

But in the Gospels, Jesus not only gives us spiritual advice, he also offers us guidance that can help us in our daily lives. Jesus is the source of good psychological advice. But that should come as no surprise, for no one knew human nature better then he did. As Saint John tells us, Jesus “did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.” (John 2:25)

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday (Mark 6:7-13), Jesus sends out his disciples to preach repentance and to drive out demons. As he does so, he also gives them some wise psychological advice. He tells them how they should deal with rejection.

Jesus informs his disciples that if people fail to welcome them, if people refuse to listen to their message, then they should get away from such people. As Jesus says, “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

Jesus advises his disciples not to remain in the company of people who are hostile and opposed to their message. Jesus knew that remaining with such negative people would only discourage his disciples, slowly drain their spirit and energy, and keep them from ministering to those who would be willing to hear the Good News of the Gospel.

That is advice that we can also apply to our spiritual lives. As Christians we would do well to avoid associating with those persons who disparage the Gospel, who ridicule Christianity, who oppose the moral teachings of the Church, who mock those things we consider sacred, and whose manner of living contradicts the way of life that should be ours as followers of Christ.

The more we associate with such spiritually negative people, the more of their “dust” can get into our eyes and keep us from clearly seeing the truth and way of life proclaimed by Jesus. The one who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

That advice of Jesus makes sense not only for our spiritual lives but in every aspect of life. We need to avoid associating with people who tear us down, who criticize our efforts, who delight in pointing out our flaws, who drain our energy and dampen our joy. Jesus would tell us to move away from such people.

As members of God’s Church, we are aware of the importance of associating with positive, faith-filled people, who encourage us in our walk with the Lord. That is one of the reasons why we gather with our fellow Catholics for Sunday Mass. We come together with good people who support us by their faith and example, and that makes us better people! That is especially important today for we live in a society that seems to be filled with more “dust” day by day.

Yes, Jesus is our source of spiritual wisdom, but he is also a source of wisdom for our daily lives.

This Sunday, Jesus gives us some very worthwhile advice: “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet.”

© 2021 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski