Like Jesus’ original disciples, Pope Francis is traveling lightly through the United States. (Unlike the original disciples, the media is traveling with him!) And he has gotten a much better welcome than some of the disciples did. In fact, Jesus tells them in today’s Gospel not to expect to be greeted everywhere with joy. People aren’t always ready to hear the Good News proclaimed to them.
That’s true for us today. People don’t always want to hear that they are called to love, show mercy, and forgive one another. So what do we do when people aren’t willing to listen? First of all, as Jesus says, it’s important not to waste time when our message falls on deaf ears. He says we should “shake the dust off our feet” and move on. That doesn’t mean we aren’t open to the possibility that these same people may be open to the message in the future, however.
Move on, but come back when they might be ready later.
—Fr. James Martin, SJ, is the author of our special series of reflections in honor of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. Fr. Martin is associate editor of America magazine;a frequent commentator in the media; and author of many books, including, most recently, Jesus: A Pilgrimage and his novel The Abbey.