30th September 2021
MEMORIAL OF ST. JEROME, PRIEST AND DOCTOR.
DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY, REJECTION AND MOVING ON.
The background of today's First Reading is that the people of God who had just returned from exile heeded to Ezra's call and painfully dismissed their foreign wives and children thus revealing the depth of concern in the community for maintaining their identity and boundaries.
That was one of the tasks that Ezra had and he was well known for it but in today's First Reading, he has. a familiar task, that is, reading and expounding the law of God in a different way and in different place.
It is different and maybe even innovative in the sense that the reading of the book containing the law of God does not take place inside the Temple but at the Water Gate in
Jerusalem from early morning until midday and the congregation included men, women, and children who were old enough to understand.
Was it not innovative and a way of doing it differently to include children in the congregation in a community where they were only to be seen? We see here that the children will grow with the knowledge of the law of God rather than wait until they are adults.
If the reading of the law of God had taken place inside the Temple it means some people would not have attended due to the stringent Temple rules that did not allow all people to enter it due to their physical and moral conditions that were considered a defilement of the Temple.
Reading the book of law of God outside the Temple shows that innovative part of Ezra doing the same thing in a different manner.
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus also does his work in a different way because he recognizes or notices that there is a large harvest but a few workers to gather it in and based on that he sends out the seventy yet he is the one who used to do most of the preaching.
Doing things differently comes from first of all noticing, recognizing and accepting that there is a need or an urge for something to be done.
This noticing, recognizing and accepting that there is a need or an urge for something to be done is what businesses do for them to succeed in a world of cut throat competition.
You will notice that Jesus is not just doing things in a
different way in the sense of noticing that the harvest is large and needs the sending of the seventy but in sending them he tells them, " But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into the streets and say, ' Even the dust of your own town that clings our feet, we wipe off
against you. "
Jesus says these words to make it open and real to us that we may be rejected no matter how we do things differently in matters of faith and in such a situation we should move on because moving on has the advantage making us not to be weighed down by the rejection or paralyzed with trying to figure out where we went wrong or could have done differently to produce a different outcome.
We should move on with the attitude of the sower who scattered seeds and some fell on good soil that brought forth seed with patience - Luke 8:4-15.
How does the church in carrying out the familiar mission of Jesus in a different way? Is it slow or is it fast?Is it contemplative or does it feel dejected when it's mission is rejected? Being rooted in the mission matters more than rejection even when we do things differently.