This week's Reflection from Fr. Bob Warren Wipe the Dust Off your Feet
Wipe the Dust Off Your Feet
the first reading, Isaiah tells us in graphic language what Jerusalem
meant to the Jews. It was the center of worship, the center of their
life. He gives us comforting words about the city. He compares her to a
nursing mother. He says prosperity will spread over her like a river.
And yes, when Isaiah is writing all this, he is looking at a city in
ruins. The Babylonians had destroyed it. Isaiah had warned the people,
but they did not listen to him. They rejected him. Isaiah could have
said, "I told you so." No, he does not let rejection or disaster
overcome him. He looks forward to a bright future.
do not think anyone responds to rejection very well. Be it a
ten-year-old boy who gets a crush on the pretty girl who sits in front
of him only to be ignored. Or the college graduate who keeps being
turned down for a job. "We are looking for someone with more
experience," says the personnel manager. A fifty-year old person with
plenty of experience applies for a job and is turned down. "We are
looking for someone younger," he is told. Rejection. We have all faced
it. Do you remember the sting, the anger, the embarrassment of not being
chosen for the team? Perhaps, feeling the temptation to quit?
in the gospel, Jesus had asked three people to follow Him in
discipleship, just as He called Peter and the other apostles. But each
rejected Him, with polite excuses. Three out of three rejections for
Jesus. Can you imagine anyone turning Jesus down? How it must have
stung. How did Jesus respond? We read now in the gospel, first, He did
not give up. He redoubled His efforts to reach out to the world. He sent
out seventy-two disciples. The temptation when one is rejected is to
focus on the rejection and overlook the many moments of acceptance.
Jesus did not allow what He had lost to erase His view of what He still
married couple told me of their experience after the death of their
twelve-year-old daughter. They were paralyzed by their loss. Months
after her death, the husband and wife were seated at the kitchen table.
The husband could only stare at the empty chair at the table where his
daughter used to sit. He became overwhelmed with loss. Finally, the
silence was broken by the sobbing voice of their son. "I'm still here.
Remember me? I'm still here." The man said that was the moment when his
grief began to turn. He had lost much, but he also had much. From that
moment on, both he and his wife tried to focus on the chairs that were
was never naïve. He knew that all of us at some time would experience
rejection, and He would tell us how to deal with it. Wipe the dust of
rejection off your feet, brush it off. Too often we drag the accumulated
residue of our rejections, losses and defeats, like one's over-stuffed
suitcase. Lighten up, drop the excess baggage of old losses, old
failure. Do not let the scar tissue of these wounds harden your spirit
and prevent you from moving on.
suffered the ultimate rejection on the Cross. When He looked down from
the Cross, He did not see many supporters. Peter denied Him, Judas
betrayed Him and all of the others, except John, took off. His response
to the rejection... not a curse, but "Father forgive them." He did not
give up on them. And the very ones who rejected Him went on to conquer
the world in His name, and all of them died for Him.
Christ did not give up on them, and He never, never gives up on us.