The Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Wednesday 27 September 2017

Gospel: Luke 9:1-6

When Jesus sends out his Apostles with instructions for their mission, his orders are very simple: “Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and do not have a spare tunic”. It was a mission of salvation that consisted in healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers and chasing out demons.

It was to bring people closer to the kingdom of God, to give them the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand, indeed it is already here.

These words contain the full gratuitousness of salvation, becausewe cannot preach or proclaim the kingdom of God, without this inner certainty that it is all freely given, it is all grace. And when we act without leaving room for grace the Gospel has no effect.

Moreover, various episodes in the life of the first Apostles testify that Gospel preaching is born from what is given freely. St. Peterhad no bank account and when he had to pay taxes, the Lord sent him to fish in the sea to find money in the fish to pay for them.

When an apostle does not give freely he also loses the ability to praise the Lord, for praising the Lord is essentially gratuitous. It is prayer freely prayed: we do not only ask, we praise, but as Pope Francis has said, when disciples want to make a rich Church, a Church without freely given praise, she ages, she becomes an NGO, she is lifeless.