FIRST READING
A reading from the Book of Ezra (Ezra 9:5-9)
Our God has not forsaken us in our bondage.

At the evening sacrifice I, Ezra, rose from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt; and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as at this day. But now for a brief moment favour has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant, and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are bondmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended to us his mercy before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.”
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Tobit13:l b-2.3-4a.6efgh.8 (R.1b)
R/. Blessed is God, who lives forever.

Blessed is God who lives forever,
and blessed is his kingdom.
For he afflicts, and he shows mercy;
he leads down to Hades, and brings up again,
and there is no one who can escape his hand. R/.

Acknowledge him before the nations,
O sons of Israel;
for he has scattered us among them.
Make his greatness known there. R/.

R/. Blessed is God, who lives forever.

But see what he will do with you;
give thanks to him with your full voice.
Praise the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of the ages. R/.

I give him thanks in the land of my captivity,
and I show his power and his majesty
to a nation of sinners. R/.

Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
all of you, praise his glory.
Celebrate days of joy, and give thanks to him R/.

ALLELUIA Mark 1:15
Alleluia. The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 9:1-6)
He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.”

At that time: Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
Jesus gave his apostles “the power and authority “over all demons and to cure diseases”. And he sent them out “to preach the kingdom of God and to heal”. These two mandates define the role of an apostle. He has to be aware of the presence of evil forces and fight and defeat them. He has to pray over and cure diseases and preach the arrival of the kingdom of God. An apostle can do this only if he trusts in the power and authority of God who calls, empowers and sends him out. Relying on one’s own power and authority and preaching one’s own message would lead to rejection and failure. However, the one who called and sent him is in command.

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