He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Whatever house you find yourself in, stay there until you leave the locality. If any place will not receive you or hear you, shake its dust from your feet in testimony against them. [Mark 6: 12]
How challenging it is some weeks and months to “stay there until you leave the locality.” It’s tough to hang in there with difficult co-workers, cranky kids and spouse, insensitive friends. Perhaps some of this comes from the cold of winter, a season when we so easily turn inward on self.
So what does Jesus suggest? To cut down on our “stuff” and travel lightly. To clear out unclean spirits that try to dislodge, discourage, and generally discombobulate our good resolve and better self. Jesus invites us to pay attention, to listen, to treasure even small gifts of life and grace, growth and hope. Embedded in the whisper of the wind, in a soft smile, in a hesitant word we may discover the vision offered in today’s reading from Hebrews. When we least expect it we may be taken aback as we experience “the city of the living God” . . . “myriads of angels” . . . “the spirits of the just made perfect:” . . . and “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.” Alleluia!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, we need your help to know when sticking it out at all costs is not always the best option. Enlighten us so we can discern when quitting may in fact, at some time and in some instances, be the better choice. We thank you for the people in our lives who are willing to speak the truth to us. Lord, we ask for the grace to be open to your Spirit so we can trust in what you have done for us and what you will do for us now and tomorrow.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team