Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Father Aleksandr Men’, Orthodox priest from Moscow, barbarically murdered in 1990

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6, 12-19

Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God.

When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them 'apostles':

Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,

Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot,

Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.

He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples, with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon

who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured,

and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the Gospels, we know the vocation of five of the twelve apostles, but we know nothing about the vocation of the other seven. You could say that this Gospel scene fills the gap. Jesus chose his closest collaborators, who will help him in proclaiming the Gospel. The initiative, however, comes from the Father. Jesus, in fact, does nothing without the Father. That is why, before making such a decision, he spends the whole night in prayer. For Jesus, and for every Christian community, prayer is the origin of every choice, every action. We could say that prayer is the first work that Jesus does and which becomes the foundation of all his other works. And so it must be for the life of every Christian community. When morning came, Jesus called to him those he wanted, one by one, and by name. The community of the disciples of Jesus, every Christian community, is not an anonymous group or an assembly made up of people without any name and without love. We all know from personal experience the sadness of loneliness, the anguish of not being called by name, as if everyone were abandoned to his or her own fate. The community of Jesus is not made up of anonymous people, but of brothers and sisters who know each other and who are called by name, as happens in every family. Friendship, fellowship, and mutual knowledge are the substance of communion. But communion does not come from us only. It is the result of mutual friendliness; it flows from the call of Jesus to whom we obey. When called by Jesus, one’s name will not be the same as before; Jesus himself gives us a new name, that is, a new heart, a new task, a new story. Simon is called Peter, the rock, the foundation. Jesus calls each disciple and gives him a particular task in building a new world. The new name that one receives is a sign of a new life that he or she is called to live: a more active life, a life more devoted to service to love and to building a more just world. Jesus, with the group of the Twelve he had called, comes down from the mountain and finds himself immediately in front of a large crowd arriving from all sides. For Jesus, such a scene is by now normal. Now, with his new disciples, he can better respond to the crowd’s demands and expectations. This image we find in the Gospel should be applicable to every Christian community. Each community should see in front of itself the crowds of this world and the people in their neighbourhoods, cities, and in far-off cities. Everyone must be present before our eyes. Everyone, in fact, is tired, sick, needy, and often forgotten. And they should run towards us, as though they were running towards Jesus. From him, from his Gospel, came a great strength, a great energy that helped to change lives. Something similar happens to us when we communicate the Gospel and live it out with deeds of love and mercy. The crowds, seeing the evangelical dimension of the Christian communities, will flock toward them and will rejoice.