Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 10, 34-11,1

'Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword.

For I have come to set son against father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law;

a person's enemies will be the members of his own household.

'No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me. No one who prefers son or daughter to me is worthy of me.

Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.

Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

'Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

'Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet's reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person.

'If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.'

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus asks the disciples a radical love, a love stronger than anyone else’s. If we allow ourselves to be loved, then we can understand Jesus’ request, which might otherwise be considered excessive. In fact, he has been the first to love his friends more than anyone else and more than his life. For us, who are fearful, it seems like we are excluding somebody. In loving Jesus more than anyone else we can really learn to loves everyone. Only the one who has this love is “worthy” of the Lord. Three times, within a few lines, he repeats: “to be worthy of me.” But who can say he or she is worthy of welcoming the Lord? If each one of us could look at our lives realistically we would be aware of our smallness and sinfulness. To be Jesus’ disciples is neither easy nor easily granted either by birth or tradition. You may be a Christian only by choice, not by birth. The Gospel tells us that this choice is lofty; indeed it is a radical choice because it stems from true love. Jesus’ disciples are called to love Him above all. This is their only way to find meaning in life. This is why Jesus could say, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” This is a recurrent sentence in the Gospel: it appears six times. The disciples “find” their life again in the resurrection when they “lose” it, that is, when they surrender it even to death for announcing the Gospel. This understanding of “finding” and losing” is in direct opposition with that of the world which impels us to think that happiness is found in the self-satisfaction of clinging to our lives, our time, our wealth, our interests. On the contrary, the disciple finds happiness in living for others and not only for him/her. Jesus teaches us how to live well because we keep only what we lose. This is a human truth: love is ours only when it is given! We are almost at the end of this “handbook” of the missionary disciples, as Chapter ten of Matthew’s Gospel can be called - in which Jesus gives a few pointers to the disciples about welcoming. He says, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” The dignity of the disciple stems from his/her identification with the Teacher; in fact he/she brings no other word but God’s. Jesus calls them “little ones.” They are to own nothing: no gold or silver, no sack and not even second tunics; they are to walk with neither sandals nor walking staff (Mt 10:9-10). The only wealth the disciples possess is the Gospel, before which even they are little and totally dependent. We have to welcome this wealth and share it.