Connecting Point

Connecting Point: July 14, 2024

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus sends forth the disciples to continue his mission, preaching repentance and healing the sick. This mission has now been handed on to us.As part of his instructions to the disciples Jesus says: “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet as testimony against them.” With these words, Jesus prepares the disciples (and us) for possible rejection and failure.

We can often feel “unwelcome” when we try to share our faith with others, when we challenge people to live a more just life or to live by the Gospel values of love, forgiveness, nonviolence, etc. In those times, we should not hold resentment, anger or frustration or feel like we have failed. We lovingly move to somewhere else where God may be calling us. We continue to call others to Christ.

Years ago, at another parish, I preached a homily on Jesus’ call for us to live nonviolent lives and to love our enemy. A person in the assembly approached me afterwards and angrily listed a number of reasons why we need to be violent and how we should not love our enemy. My immediate response was not very gracious. I pointed out that those were Jesus’ words, not mine. I was a bit snarky. I probably should have just listened to him, understood why he felt that way, thanked him for his input, and moved on. I would not quit, but move on to preach the Gospel of Jesus to those who would welcome it.

When trying to share your faith with children or others who may not welcome you, be very gentle. Don’t argue. Don’t shame them. Don’t lay on guilt. Don’t dig in your heels. Move on. God is calling you somewhere else. Keep carrying on the mission of Jesus. There are those who will welcome you.