Liturgy of the Sunday

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Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Remembrance of Athenagoras (†1972), patriarch of Constantinople and father of ecumenical dialogue.


First Reading

Isaiah 66,10-14

Rejoice with Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who love her! Rejoice, rejoice with her, all you who mourned her! So that you may be suckled and satisfied from her consoling breast, so that you may drink deep with delight from her generous nipple. For Yahweh says this: Look, I am going to send peace flowing over her like a river, and like a stream in spate the glory of the nations. You will be suckled, carried on her hip and fondled in her lap. As a mother comforts a child, so I shall comfort you; you will be comforted in Jerusalem. At the sight your heart will rejoice, and your limbs regain vigour like the grass. To his servants Yahweh will reveal his hand, but to his enemies his fury.

Psalmody

Psalm 65

Antiphon

It is you, Lord, who has restored our lives.

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
O sing to the glory of his name.

O render him glorious praise.
Say to God : 'How tremendous your deeds!

Because of the greatness of your strength
your enemies cringe before you.

Before you all the earth shall bow;
shall sing to you, sing to your name!'

Come and see the works of God,
tremendous his deeds among men.

He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the river dry-shod.

Let our joy then be in him;
he rules for ever by his might.

His eyes keep watch over the nations:
let rebels not rise against him.

O peoples, bless our God,
let the voice of his praise resound,

of the God who give life to our souls
and kept our feet from stumbling.

For you, O God, have tested us,
you have tried us as silver is tried :

you led us, God, into the snare;
you laid a heavy burden on our backs.

You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water
but then you brought us relief.

Burnt offering I bring to your house;
to you I will pay my vows,

the vows which my lips have uttered,
which my mouth spoke in my distress.

I will offer burnt offerings of fatlings
with the smoke of burning rams.
I will offer bullocks and goats.

Come and hear, all who fear God.
I will tell what he did for my soul :

to him I cried aloud,
with high praise ready on my tongue.

If there had been evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.

But truly God has listened;
he has heeded the voice of my prayer.

Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
nor withhold his love from me.

Second Reading

Galatians 6,14-18

But as for me, it is out of the question that I should boast at all, except of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. It is not being circumcised or uncircumcised that matters; but what matters is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this as their rule and to the Israel of God. After this, let no one trouble me; I carry branded on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 10,1-12.17-20

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself would be visiting. And he said to them, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to do his harvesting. Start off now, but look, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Take no purse with you, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, let your first words be, "Peace to this house!" And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is put before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, "The kingdom of God is very near to you." But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, "We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near." I tell you, on the great Day it will be more bearable for Sodom than for that town. The seventy-two came back rejoicing. 'Lord,' they said, 'even the devils submit to us when we use your name.' He said to them, 'I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Look, I have given you power to tread down serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The choice of sending 72 disciples - many were the nations that were then thought to be on earth - indicates that from the time of the small Galilee the horizon of Jesus was already open to all nations, to all peoples. No one is excluded from the Gospel. The universal perspective appears from the first steps of this journey to Jerusalem. And even in Jerusalem, the Church took its first steps moving toward all peoples, as it happened at Pentecost when all those present heard them speaking in their "own languages ... about God's deeds of power" (Acts 2:11). As then, even today Jesus looks at the crowds of the peripheries of the great cities and tells his disciples: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few." It is the invitation for a renewed mission. Going in the cities "two by two"", marked by love, makes Jesus' disciples universal brothers and sisters who know how to take charge of the joys, hopes, anguish and pains of the people who live in that city. Jesus does not conceal from the 72 the difficulties that they will encounter: "Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves." And it is certainly not an easy task for a "lamb" to make the "wolf" change its life; it is certainly not easy to defeat individualism and self-interest; and it is not easy to overcome the fear that seems to ensnare more and more the cities of our time; and it is not easy to break down the idols of arrogance, of competition, of strength, of one's own individual interests; to affirm the lordship of God. And everything may seem even more difficult if these "lambs" must present themselves with "no a purse, no bag, nor sandals." Don Andrea Santoro - a lamb in the endless Turkey - just in his last letter remembered the "advantage" of being lambs and not wolves - an advantage not to be missed, he said - and remembered the affirmation of St. John Chrysostom, who experienced personally the violence of the powerful against him who defended the poor - and who said: "Christ grazes lambs not wolves." It is easy to fall into the temptation to arm yourself with your own luggage, with your own weapons, with your own strategies. In truth, the only strength is the Lord and mutual love. It is a "weak force" and yet it is the only one that can change the world; after all it was the only thing that changed our heart. And - as in an ideal return from the mission - we can also say full of joy: "'Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" And Jesus can repeat aloud: "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you." Let us make this joy of the Lord our own and let us continue to walk the streets of the world "two by two," and rejoice that our names are written in the heaven of God.