Memory of the Church

Share On

Memory of the prophet Isaiah. Memory of Athenagoras (1886-1972), patriarch of Constantinople and father of ecumenical dialogue.

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

Matthew 10, 7-16

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

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those suffering from virulent skin-diseases, drive out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.

Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses,

with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the labourer deserves his keep.

'Whatever town or village you go into, seek out someone worthy and stay with him until you leave.

As you enter his house, salute it,

and if the house deserves it, may your peace come upon it; if it does not, may your peace come back to you.

And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet.

In truth I tell you, on the Day of Judgement it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having chosen the Twelve and entrusted them with the mission of announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God, Jesus continues to clarify the contents of the proclamation that they should make to those they encounter. The Gospel to be proclaimed, although it is shaped in various ways according to each person and people, has a central nucleus. Jesus tells them: "Preach, saying that the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, clean lepers, cast out demons;" and he adds that they must "make peace come down" into human homes. It is an essential and inescapable message for those disciples, for the Church of every period and for every Christian community. This should be the disciples’ first concern. Jesus cautions against letting themselves become overwhelmed by other preoccupations, like: gold, silver, money, travel packs, two tunics, sandals, walking stick. And yet these things seem useful, if not necessary, for the mission. In truth, they have an insidious way to take the disciples away from the absolute primacy of the Gospel. It is necessary to frequently meditate on this Gospel page in order to understand the true treasure which we have been handed and to become aware that our strength is only in Jesus, certainly not in our organizational structures, in the work we carry out programmatically, nor in our strategies. Jesus thus indicates that peace is the gift that the disciples should bring to the cities, to the villages and to people’s homes. Luke, in the parallel passage, speaks of the peace greeting: "Peace to this house!" (10:5). It is a greeting that the world has particular need of today. Ten years of the new century has passed and the world is still marked by acts of violence and conflict which poison the life of so many. Often it is our own homes and families that are seeking that peace which they do not find and which yet remains the only basis for a happier and more serene life. Tensions and misunderstandings often make our homes places of division and tension. The Christian community is called to work for and bring peace amidst the conflicts which wound the peoples as well as the houses of our cities. Jesus’ disciples are sent into this world like lambs, that is weak men and women, but peaceful and peace-makers. This does not come without disputes and opposition. The Gospel warns us: "If anyone then does not welcome you ...." The lack of welcome and rejection do not diminish the strength and the awareness that the Church’s only mission is to bring, by preparing it, peace to everyone.