The readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time present a vivid image of rejection! In Luke 10:5-12 the disciples are advised:
"But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you."
Even your dust should be left behind. I can't imagine doing that - but it does seem to be the ideal way to express contempt for the hard-hearted fools that would welcome us.
The action may seem less harsh if we recognize that the disciples have been sent into towns to heal the sick, bring peace and announce the coming of the Kingdom of God. What are they to do if the townspeople would rather remain sick than to accept healing? They should simply leave. Recall that in last Sunday's gospel (Luke 9:51-56) James and John wanted to call down lightening on a town that wouldn't listen. The sad part of it is that those who would rather remain sick will find that "it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."
The lesson to me is detachment. The question for us is to identify the dust. Once we know what dust represents for us, we can begin to detach. For James and John, the dust was resentment at a town that would not welcome them and listen to their message. For each of us it may be something else that is preventing us from carrying the message. For some it may be disappointment at not being loved in exactly the way we expected. For others, it might be that the town failed to recognize our brilliance and eloquence. Whatever it is, we need to shake it off. If not, what started as dust on our feet will soon become baggage on our backs.
P.S. Let's not forget that Isaiah 66 gives us a vivid image of God as nurturing mother.