“Shaking off the dust of the past, and walking clean with our Lord and Master!”
(Based on Ezra 9:5-9 and Lk 9:1-6 – Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)
Thomas Edison, the famous scientist, once worked for months to find a filament that would burn for more than a few seconds, for his incandescent light bulb.
He tried over 700 filaments and each one was a failure.
One reporter interviewed Edison and said, “It must be frustrating to work so hard and see no results.”
Edison replied, “Oh, I have lots of results. I now know 700 things that won’t work!”
The person of true research and genuine interest finds meaning even in failures and is able to cast off minor disappointments and setbacks.
The Gospel of the Day enshrines a similar message in its verses…
“And where ever they don’t welcome you, shake off the dust from your feet…” (Lk 9:5)
Dust was symbolic…
Dust was used to denote the grave (Job 7:21)
To sit in dust denoted extreme affliction (Isaiah 47:1).
To lick the dust was a sign of abject submission (Psalms 72:9)
To sprinkle dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Joshua 7:6)
To throw dust at someone was a sign of abhorrence (2 Samuel 16:13; Acts 22:23)
To shake off the dust indicated that those who had rejected the Gospel were making themselves closer to face the just judgment of God.
The context of this phrase is when Jesus summoned His twelve apostles and sent them on a mission, giving them various instructions…
Jesus warned the twelve, that in their mission, they would encounter denial and not receive a proper welcome and reception in all the places.
This is a reality with the Kingdom of God and the Message of the Gospel…
Not all take in the teaching of the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all understand and accept the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all give a good response to the Kingdom and the Gospel…
The action of shaking off the dust also meant much for the messenger or the one who had preached the Gospel.
One of the greatest realities of our life is facing rejections, refusals and failures
This aspect creeps into our spiritual lives, our ministries and in our witnessing of Christ in the society…
We may face rejection when we try extend the peace of Christ to all those, with whom we are not in good terms.
We may face refusal when we take a bold decision to not partake in some unhealthy affairs of the world.
We may face failures when we stick on to the principles of honesty and integrity and truthfulness.
We may face let-downs when we refuse to be a partaker of sinful activities and evil practices and thoughts.
Jesus told the disciples that if they were not accepted, to “shake the dust off their feet…”
The “shaking off the dust” was a symbolic way of saying, “I don’t want anything of the city to remain on me.
“I don’t want their bitterness, their rejection, and their lack of faith to remain part of me.”
Jesus didn’t want their feeling of failure to bog his disciples down.
Instead, He told them to just shake it off and move on to the next village.
This was a mighty invitation by the Master to His disciples to not “get fixated to the fleeting pleasures and satisfactions that this world may offer…
… rather to have the Lord as the Greatest Consolation, Treasure and Joy of Life!”
The whole world may leave or reject you…
… but the Lord promises, “if you totally depend on Me, you have no need to fear or be anxious!”
Some of us, however, continue to carry the dust of our past failures and disappointments…
We fail to shake off the dust of our guilt and shame of the past sins we have committed…
We fail to shake off the dust of our hurts and pains in some of the broken and strained relationships…
We fail to shake off the dust of our collapses and catastrophes in our works or businesses or projects or plans…
Yes, we have been rejected. We have failed. We have been crushed. We have collapsed.
But the Lord, says, “Get up, shake off the dust, and go on.”
The Book of Proverbs reminds us: “Every word of God proves true;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him!” (Prov 30:5)
Every saint has faced a rejected and a failure…
The Lord, Himself, on the way of the Cross, fell…
But They never gave up…They never called it quits!
St Paul beautifully says, “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” (Phil 3:13)
Let us not spend our life sitting in the dust of devastation, crying over what went wrong.
Rather, let us shake off the dust, and walk clean, with our Lord and Master!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the “Book of Emmanuel” (Isaiah)
The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”
These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how He will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”
Taking our death upon Himself, He can communicate to us His own Spirit of life (Cf. CCC # 712-714)