Word of the day

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading of the day

First reading from the book of Exodus
Ex 19:2-6a

In those days, the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai and pitched camp.
While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain,
Moses went up the mountain to God.
Then the LORD called to him and said,
“Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob;
tell the Israelites:
You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians
and how I bore you up on eagle wings
and brought you here to myself. 
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my special possession,
dearer to me than all other people,
though all the earth is mine.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”


Secondo reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans
Rm 5:6-11

Brothers and sisters:
Christ, while we were still helpless, 
yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood,
will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,
how much more, once reconciled,
will we be saved by his life.
Not only that,
but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Matthew
Mt 9,36-10,8

At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them 
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits
to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the twelve apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon from Cana, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

Words of the Holy Father

The Gospel says that Jesus “appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach” (Mk 3:14); two things: to be with him and to send them to preach. There is one aspect that seems contradictory: He called them to be with him and to go and preach. One would say: either one or the other, either stay or go. But no: for Jesus there is no going without staying and there is no staying without going. It is not easy to understand this, but that’s the way it is. Let us try to understand a little bit what is the sense in which Jesus says these things. First of all, there is no going without staying : before sending the disciples forth on mission, Christ — the Gospel says — “calls them to himself” (cf. Mt 10:1). The proclamation is born from the encounter with the Lord; every Christian activity, especially the mission, begins from there. Not from what is learnt in an academy. No, no! It begins from the encounter with the Lord. Witnessing him, in fact, means radiating him; but, if we do not receive his light, we will be extinguished; if we do not spend time with him, we will bear ourselves instead of him — I am bringing myself and not him — and it will all be in vain. So only those who remain with him can bring the Gospel of Jesus. Anyone who does not remain with him cannot bear the Gospel. He will bring ideas, but not the Gospel. Equally, however, there is no staying without going. In fact, following Christ is not an inward-looking fact: without proclamation, without service, without mission, the relationship with Jesus does not grow. (General Audience, 15 February 2023)