Memory of the Church

Share On

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

Mark 6, 7-13

Then he summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs, giving them authority over unclean spirits.

And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff -- no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses.

They were to wear sandals but, he added, 'Don't take a spare tunic.'

And he said to them, 'If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district.

And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust under your feet as evidence to them.'

So they set off to proclaim repentance;

and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel describes the first pre-Easter mission of the Twelve. Jesus calls them and sends them two by two into the neighbouring villages. We could say that the evangelist is reporting Jesus’ first lesson about mission, about communicating the Gospel to men and women. The Lord urges the "twelve," that is the group of the apostles not to live for themselves or remain closed in their narrow horizons, but to go out wherever they are to proclaim the Gospel and to heal sicknesses - a lesson that retains all of its value still today. It is a mission that has no boundaries and encourages disciples to go beyond boundaries in order to reach hearts in even the most distant frontiers. We are still at the beginning of the new millennium. The first ten years have already passed by. We realize how difficult and harsh life can be and how strong the evil that crushes the life of the weak is. Moreover, the distance between those who are wealthy (not many) and those who are poor is growing. There is a new urgency for Jesus’ disciples, all the Churches, and all Christians to listen to this Gospel passage again and begin living it. Unfortunately, the missionary tension seems to decrease rather than grow. The number of people who leave for lands of mission has decreased, but also Christians in Christian countries have become less missionary for they have allowed themselves to be overwhelmed by a materialistic and individualistic way of living. It is urgent that the Gospel be proclaimed in a renewed way in lands of ancient Christian tradition and that it be carried with greater boldness to places where it has not yet been proclaimed. The only strength Christians have is the Lord, the only baggage they should take with them is the Gospel, the only tunic they should wear is mercy, and the only staff they should lean on is charity. With great spiritual wisdom, Gregory the Great notes that Jesus sends the disciples two by two so that their love for each other would be the first thing they preached. Jesus urges his followers to stay close to those who welcome them, but those who refuse the love of the Lord offered to them will be gravely responsible.