2021-07-1115th Sunday of Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

I was able to visit the Holy Land three times in my life. One thing about the land that really struck me was how dusty it was. Although I knew that much of this land was a desert, I was still struck by how parched and dry it was.

It was into that dusty country that Jesus sent his disciples. It is no wonder that the custom of foot washing was both a courteous and practical gesture for guests who arrived at your home with tired and dirty feet.

In today`s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to stay in villages that accept them and their preaching. But if the village does not accept their teaching, they were to shake the dust from their feet and move on.

This symbolic gesture of "shaking off the dust" gives us a clue on how to handle failure.

We get some dust on us just by walking through life. Life is never smooth sailing all the way. All of life is a mixture of ups and downs, successes and failures.

Another way we get dust on ourselves is by falling down. We make an awful mess of life and fall flat on our faces.

Sometimes we get dust on ourselves by sitting down. We just quit and stop trying. This is perhaps the most tragic failure of all. It is one thing to lose a game. It is another thing to forfeit. Some people find it less embarrassing to never try than to try and fail.

What does dust do? One thing that we know for sure is that it accumulates. It collects on furniture. It gathers under the bed and if you walk a dusty trail, it accumulates on you.

I think that dust provides a perfect analogy for failure. It will accumulate in the corners of your life. If you let it, it will pile higher and higher until it covers and colors everything that you do. You will think of yourself as a born loser. I have heard people say, "I CANNOT do anything right." That person has allowed the dust of failure to contaminate his life.

Shake off that dust and do not carry it with you. As Jesus says: go to the next village - which translates, forget your failures and keep going. Tomorrow is a new day.

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