“Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

Now Jesus is addressing just the twelve apostles (Mk 6:7-13).  He prepares to send them out by twos, telling them to take nothing but the clothes on their backs, sandals, and a walking stick.  He gives them power over unclean spirits.  He tells them to stay in just one house when they are in a certain place.  If rejected by the town, they are to leave (see above).  They do go out, preaching repentance, exorcising demons, and curing the sick through anointing.  How are we to take this directive (above) of the Lord today?  Certainly we are not to pass judgment on those who do not welcome us or who do not listen to us.  Even the apostles didn’t do that.  And we definitely do not stop praying for the conversion of those who reject the gospel message.  Again, this reading does not indicate any future disposition of the apostles toward these places that did not welcome them. Who knows?  They may have tried again later with success.  Or they may have been invited back after further consideration of the townsfolk.  Possibly Jesus Himself came to visit and made the difference.  Whatever the case, we don’t give up on anyone in this life as long as we have breath and they have breath.  And our prayers for them do not even stop then as they may be among the suffering in purgatory.  For our part we look to plant the seed and then call on the Holy Spirit to water it.  We are to be the instruments that strike the perfect note in order for God’s revelation to be heard clearly and to resonate deeply.  Introspection on where we might fall short in doing God’s work of evangelization is a much better use of our time than lamenting, or worse, looking askance at those who don’t embrace the Good News.  We are to pray often to the Father that “the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say” (Lk 12:12)

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