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Being a follower of Jesus means to be ‘sent out’. Our spiritual lives ought to be visible on the outside through our actions and dealings with others. The disciples are sent in twos for companionship but also as a team; one person cannot have all the gifts and there is support in working with another.
We might interpret the many demons that they cast out as all those things in the world that are not of the Spirit, the injustices in our world. Jesus sends the disciples out to work for a better world, to bring more love, compassion and peace to those that they encounter. They go and urge people to repent, to turn around. This is one of the goals of their mission and Jesus’ mission: to turn the world around.
Jesus’ instructions to shake the dust from their feet when they feel unwelcome may seem harsh at first. We too may fear rejection and when we experience it, it can leave us feeling exhausted and upset. Perhaps the message here is to free ourselves and move on; to not let that disappointment and upset control our lives because if we do, we lose our freedom, it holds us back and it starts to define us. In the midst of that experience, our true mission can become lost. As we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to Ireland, let us go out and bring joy and hope to those we encounter.
‘You might be the only gospel which people read.’