By Maria Morera Johnson
In today’s Gospel, Luke recounts that Jesus summoned the Twelve Apostles, gave them authority to cast out demons and heal the sick, and instructed them to go out to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Jesus also added some additional guidelines, telling the Apostles to take nothing with them, to stay where they are welcome, and to “shake the dust from [their] feet” as they leave those places where they are unwelcome.
This brief but powerful reading provides excellent guidelines as we enter into our mission for the Kingdom of God. It speaks to two very different things. The first addresses the importance of trust in the Lord’s provenance in going out into the world with nothing, dependent on the hospitality of others. The Apostles find themselves in a position to accept whatever lodging, food, and community is offered to them. There is an unspoken acceptance of the people they encounter, and an element of being in community, sharing as one with the people as they are.
The second instruction, in the case of being rejected, calls for us to shake off that rejection and move on. While this instruction may seem a bit callous, it puts into perspective the role of the evangelist. We are called to spread the Good News. We are not called to convert hearts. That is the purview of the Lord. Shaking the dust from our feet is less a statement about our rejection of those who refused us, and perhaps more a statement about letting go of the situation and moving on. Shaking off the dust releases us from our attachment to success or failure. In the end, it is up to God alone to work in His people’s hearts.
On this feast day celebrating St. Padre Pio, let us take to heart his advice:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
About the author:
Maria Morera Johnson is the award-winning and best-selling author of My Badass Book of Saints and Super Girls and Halos. Her new book, Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love, is a spiritual memoir. Johnson is an international speaker, retreat leader, and contributor to various Catholic publications.