Memory of the Church

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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 mission of the Twelve before Jesus’ Resurrection. Jesus calls them and sends them two by two to the nearby villages. We could say that the evangelist reports Jesus’ first lesson on the mission. Jesus encourages his disciples (a teaching which retains its full value even today) not to live for themselves and not to remain closed in their narrow horizons, but to reach out to the world, wherever they are, to proclaim the Gospel and to heal the infirmities of humanity. It is a mission that has no borders and that asks the disciples to go ever further beyond the boundaries of the hearts and of the world. It is important that the evangelists Mark, Matthew and Luke, put the mission of the Twelve among the first steps of the public life of Jesus. One may ask if it would not have been better to wait. Often we think that before talking to others about Jesus, before going to communicate the joy of the Christian life, we must grow ourselves, we must understand everything, we must be ready. If Jesus had waited for his disciples to be ready, would he have ever sent them at all, since they all abandoned him at the very end of his earthly life? Christian life is always mission. Every community is always a missionary one. If it is not it the price it will drying up and even extinguish. Today, in this favourable time, we are all called to rediscover the power of the word of Jesus and his force of changing and healing, whether we live in countries of ancient or more recent evangelization. We should not be afraid nor say: I am not capable, it is not up to me, I am not prepared, or anything like that. The strength of the Christians is only in the Lord, the only baggage we have to carry is the Gospel, the only tunic dress is mercy, the only staff on which to lean is charity. And then Jesus never sends us alone. St. Gregory the Great notes that Jesus sent them out two by two because mutual love is the first form preaching. Jesus exhorts his disciples to remain where people welcome them. Severe, on the contrary, will be the responsibility of those who reject the Lord’s love that is offered to them. Conversion, deliverance from evil, and healing are what the disciples are called to communicate and operate wherever they live. The Lord, as he would repeat before ascending into heaven, will give them the power to be able to announce to all the Gospel of the Kingdom, which he inaugurated.