Sunday Vigil

Deel Op

Today the Byzantine Church venerates Saint Sabbas (+532), "the Archimandrite of all the hermitages of Palestine."


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 9,35-10,1.5-8

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and all kinds of illness. And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers to his harvest.' He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to drive them out and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of illness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. 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.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus continues to travel through the cities and villages "proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness." With these words, the evangelist Matthew wants to synthesize Jesus' mission and offer to the Christian communities a clear vision of their mission. Each word in this synthesis has its own importance. The evangelist uses one that gives reason of Jesus' mission: compassion. Jesus does not obey a rule, a commandment. God does not want executors, rather He wants people who have compassion and therefor they move. Gospel compassion is more than human compassion. The original Greek term (splanghizomai) indicated a visceral, deep compassion. It is he compassion for the crowds, which were left abandoned and without a shepherd, that moves Jesus to be their shepherd. with no one to help them. It is out of compassion for this crowd that the disciples' call is born, along with their mission. This Gospel passage questions the Christian communities about their compassion towards the crowds of this world, the large and abandoned peripheries, the poor who continue to grow because ofteh pandemic that hit the entire world. When Pope Francis asks for a missionary conversion of the Church, he means that we need to recuperate the power of the compassion that urges to go out and not to stay quiet in your own fold. Even more so today that the harvest is really abundant. The disproportion between the great mission to carry out and the small number of workers is even more evident, and worrisome. Jesus calls on his disciples-even today's- to invoke the Father to send forth His workers. Jesus himself chooses twelve men from his disciples, one for every tribe of Israel, so that none of them would be deprived of the Gospel. Consequently, they receive a real power to change hearts, to defeat evil, to gather together and love the poor, and to hasten the Kingdom of God. It is a power that does not come from money, bags, tunics, or any earthly things, but from the limitless love that God has poured into their hearts, that is divine compassion. And Jesus adds, "You received without payment; give without payment." This is a commandment as extraordinary as it is opposed to the materialistic mentality of our time. Christians are called to rediscover and witness to the gratuity of the gift, which is an essential part of evangelic love. This first mission described by Matthew in his Gospel is emblematic for every Christian generation: there is no other path for Jesus' disciples.