Connecting Point

Connecting Point: July 14, 2024

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus sends the disciples to continue his mission, preaching repentance and healing the sick. This mission has now been handed to us. In 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 and challenge others to live a more just life in accordance with the Gospel values of love, forgiveness, nonviolence, etc. In those times, we should not harbor resentment, anger, or frustration, nor should we feel like we have failed. We must lovingly move somewhere else where God may be calling us. We must 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 love our enemy. A person in the assembly approached me afterward and angrily listed a number of reasons why we need to be violent and why we should not love our enemy. My immediate response was not very gracious; I was a bit snarky. I pointed out that those were Jesus’ words, not mine. I probably should have just listened to him, understood why he felt that way, thanked him for his input, and, critically, moved on. I would not quit, but instead continue 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 gentle. Don’t argue. Don’t shame them. Don’t dig in your heels. Move on. God is calling you somewhere else. Keep carrying on the mission of Jesus. Some will welcome you.