14th Week in Ord. Time, Thursday – 9th July 2020 — Gospel: Mt 10,7-15
In announcing the message of the kingdom the disciples are to expect mixed reactions. However, primarily the disciples are exhorted to go and proclaim the Gospel in each town or village. They are called to bear witness to the sender in each of these communities. Therefore, Jesus forewarns them with two types of receptions. There will be some people who will receive you and your message and respond favourably. If that happens, Jesus says accept their hospitality and share your peace with them in exchange. Jesus prepares his disciples to look forward to an unexpected response. There will be also rejections and reactions from some others, who will not receive you or the message. In that case, Jesus requests them to give a stern warning by way of “shake off the dust from your feet”, which is a Jewish symbol of rejection (Acts 13,51; 18,6). If they neither listen to them nor receive them, then they are unworthy to inherit eternal life and are worthy to receive the wrath of God (Jn 3,36b). If they return back the peace of God, then they don’t possess what they need, i.e., peace (Rom 5,1) and there is no condemnation lifted (Rom 8,1). So the dust is used here as a witness against the messenger. Along with this warning, Jesus adds a sign of great judgment for those who reject His message. Why is it the judgment on the land of Sodom and Gomorrah will be more tolerable than those who reject Jesus’ message? That’s because those who reject Jesus’ message had received them at first hand and so they are without excuse for severe judgement.