Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
God can work just fine without us. God did many good things before any of us ever existed, and will continue to bring about good once all of us die. A few years ago, when between teaching and working on the school play, I was out of both time and energy. I was asked to give a talk to the student body at the next day’s morning prayer service, and had to decline. Another Jesuit gave the talk, and not only was it better than what I would have slapped together in a rush, but better than what I would have done if I had been totally prepared. I was not the one to reach the students in that way at that time. I shook the dust off, and God stepped in.
This is what Jesus is asking the apostles to believe as He sends them out: that God can be well at work in a place even without them. He tells them that any time a place does not accept them, the should shake the dust from their feet. Not even the smallest speck of dust from the place should remain on their feet, and not the smallest bit of concern for the place should remain in their minds. Many times in our lives we will clearly see that something is God’s will, and yet just as clearly see that we are totally unable to do it. Perhaps we don’t have the skills or energy, or perhaps who we want to reach won’t hear the message from us. These are the occasions when, like the apostles, we are to shake the dust off and trust that God will step in.