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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 10, 1-7

He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to drive them out and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of illness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;

Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who was also his betrayer.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town;

go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

From compassion for the crowds, harassed and helpless, is born the call of disciples instructed about the Gospel mission. Without this link, we could misunderstand the meaning of our call and easily reduce it to a role and a sacrifice. Jesus chooses twelve men, as many as the tribes of Israel, as though to say that no one has to be deprived of the proclamation of the Gospel. The evangelist mentions the name of the twelve apostles. There are Greeks and Jews; men from the North and others from the South; simple fishermen as well as members of the Zealots’ revolutionary party (Simon the Cananean), followers of the Baptist (James and John) and tax collectors (Matthew). They form a heterogeneous group regardless of territorial origin or military ideology. What is important is following Jesus and obeying his Word; these two dimensions form their new identity. They are not known nor designated as the tax-collector, the zealot, the fisherman, but as those who are with the Nazarene. As Simon, they all receive a new name, that is a new mission and a new power. They are no longer as they were before they met Jesus, when they were identified by their job. Since then, they have become witnesses of the Gospel, of a universal dream which is not theirs but God’s, and they received power to change hearts, to overcome evil, to gather the weak, to love the desperate, to hasten the Kingdom of God. This is true power, true strength to change, derived not from money, purses, tunics or things from the earth. This is the power of the limitless love from on high, first witnessed to by Jesus. This first Gospel mission is emblematic for every Christian generation: there is no other way for the disciples of Jesus. Our generation too, in the new millennium, is called to live this Gospel page literally. In the Gospel of Matthew, the mandate refers only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Historically, the mission of Jesus and of the Apostles began in Israel. This limit, attributed to a Jewish-Christian tradition in practice at the beginning of the Church, has been happily overcome. Today, the mission of the Church is global and borderless, and responds exactly to the message of universal salvation willed by the life of Christ and of the first Christian communities.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets