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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 10, 1-12

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself would be visiting.

And he said to them, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to do his harvesting.

Start off now, but look, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Take no purse with you, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.

Whatever house you enter, let your first words be, "Peace to this house!"

And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.

Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.

Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is put before you.

Cure those in it who are sick, and say, "The kingdom of God is very near to you."

But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say,

"We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near."

I tell you, on the great Day it will be more bearable for Sodom than for that town.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage contains the second missionary sermon by Jesus reported in Luke’s Gospel. If the first such sermon was addressed to the twelve (9:1-6) and could be understood as intended to gather the whole of Israel, now Jesus is sending out seventy-two disciples, a number that symbolizes all the peoples of the earth (see Genesis 10). Luke places this sermon at the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. The need to preach to the entire world is not something extra added to the Gospel message; from the very beginning it has been an integral part of the mission Jesus entrusts to his disciples. He himself, in fact, notes that “the harvest is plentiful,” that is, immense, and the labourers are few. The breadth of the harvest is proportional to the magnitude of pain in this world, the full sweep of the loneliness that saddens people, and the incredible frequency of the conflicts that poison the nations. There is an enormous need for people to be freed from countless forms of slavery. And Jesus sees the disproportion between the incredible work of evangelization that needs to be done and the small number of disciples. Jesus is very aware of this discrepancy. But the problem is not just a matter of numbers; it is also a problem of quality. This is why Jesus not only urges his disciples to pray to the Father to send more workers to his harvest but he also prays that their work might be successful. Of course, to communicate the Gospel is not an easy or light job. The disciples must overcome their own laziness and sluggishness at the same time as they face the obstacles, dangers, and hatred placed in their way by the prince of evil. Jesus says to them: “See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” The disciples must be aware of the dangers they face. Being blind to the dangers the flock is facing is a sign of a lack of sensitivity - and a lack of intelligence - on the part of the shepherd. This is made all the more important by the task that is entrusted to them. Jesus urges them not to stay in familiar places or to maintain the same habits as before, including religious ones. The Church, the Christian community, and every single disciple is by nature a missionary, that is, someone sent by the Lord to communicate the Gospel throughout the world and to prepare the hearts of men and women to welcome Jesus as the savoir of their lives. The gift of peace that the disciples are called to bring to each home is nothing other than the encounter with Jesus. And Jesus sent the disciples two by two. Gregory the Great wrote that Jesus sent them two by two so that the first thing they preached would be their love for each other. Love, in fact, is the disciples’ strength, both in the past and today. The Lord’s love is strong, and it defeats the “wolves” of this world, as Francis of Assisi experienced in his encounter with the “wolf” of Gubbio. The strength of Jesus’ disciples does not come from their equipment: they are to bring nothing with them besides the Gospel and the love of the Lord. It is with this baggage, which is both strong and weak, that they travel along the roads of our world, giving witness to “the one who sent” them. They must announce the kingdom of God in every city - indeed in every house - and reveal its presence by healing the wounds of evil: “Cure the sick...and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

Memory of the Church

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday