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

Matthew 10, 7-15

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.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After choosing the Twelve and entrusting them with the mission to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God, Jesus continues clarifying the content of the message to be announced to all whom they meet. But the core of the Gospel is to be proclaimed in different ways with respect to the persons and the peoples addressed. Jesus says to them, “The kingdom of heaven has come near. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons,” and adds, “let your peace come” upon the houses of everyone. This is an essential and binding point for those disciples and for the Church and for every Christian community in every time. It has to be the first and foremost concern of the disciples. Jesus warns them not to be overwhelmed by other worries, namely, “Gold, silver, copper, bags, two tunics, sandals, staff,” even if they seem to be useful for the mission. Truly, in an insidious way such items often distance the disciple from the absolute primacy of the Gospel. It is necessary to meditate frequently on this Gospel passage in order to understand the true treasure entrusted to our hands: that our strength is only in Jesus, not in organisational structures, or programs, or strategies. Therefore Jesus stresses peace as a gift that the disciples must bring to the cities, the villages and into the houses of the people. Luke, in a parallel passage, mentions “the greeting of peace” (10:5), a greeting which the world particularly needs today. The first ten years of the new century have passed and the world is still marked by violence and conflicts which poison many lives. Often our houses and our families seek peace, the only ground for a more serene and happy life; unfortunately, they do not find it. Too often tensions and misunderstanding make our houses places of division and laceration. The Christian community is called to be a worker and peace-bearer in the conflicts which injure the peoples as well as the houses of our cities. The disciples of Jesus are sent into this world as lambs, that is as men and women who are weak, but peaceful and peacemaking. This is does not happen without contrasts and opposition. The Gospel warns us, “If anyone will not welcome you...” The fact that the mission of the church - to proclaim the Gospel and bring peace to all - is rejected and not welcome diminishes neither the force nor the realization of that mission.