MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
Signs of giving freely
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n.
25, 19 June 2013)
Poverty and praising God
are the two main indicators
of the Church’s mission;
they are “signs” that reveal
to the People of God whether
“an apostle practises
Francis pointed these signs
out at Mass on Tuesday
morning, 11 June, in the
Chapel of the Domus Sanctae
Marthae. Concelebrating with
the Pope among others were
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig
Müller, Prefect of the
Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, and
personnel of the former Holy
Office were taking part.
Gratuitousness was the main theme of the Pope's reflection, inspired by the
readings from the Acts of the Apostles (11:21-26; 13:1-3) and from the Gospel of
Matthew (10:7-13). For, he explained, “Gospel preaching is born from from giving
freely, from wonder of salvation which comes; and what I have received freely I
must give freely”.
This is evident when Jesus sends out his Apostles with instructions for their
mission. “His orders are very simple”, the Holy Father emphasized. “Do not
provide yourselves with gold, or silver, or copper in your belts...”. It was a
mission of salvation that consisted in healing the sick, raising the dead,
cleansing lepers and chasing out demons. And Pope Francis specified that it was
to bring people close to the kingdom of God, to give them the good news that the
kingdom of God is at hand, indeed it is already here.
The key phrase in Christ’s instructions to his disciples is: “you received
without pay, give without pay”. These words contain the full gratuitousness of
salvation, because: “we 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 Pope said, “the Gospel has no
Moreover various episodes in the life of the first Apostles testify that
Gospel preaching is born from what is given freely. St Peter, the Holy Father
said, “had 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 them.
Pope Francis made it clear than 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
when disciples “want to make a rich Church, a Church without freely given
praise, she “ages, she becomes an NGO, she is lifeless”.