Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
The Church structure
In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, 8 who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all. Lk 6,12-19
The configuration of the Church is born in the today’s gospel, structured into concentric circles: the center is Jesus Christ in communion and dialogue with the Father; then the small circle of the apostles is conceived, with a role of representation, then the wider circle of the disciples, called to follow the Lord, afterword there is the crowd which symbolizes the humanity on its way toward him. It is a vision which reminds me of the concentric circles which formed when, as a boy, I was used to throw the stones into the river Arno: they were increasing up to the two river banks. Leaving from the center, however, they were becoming less and less visible, contrasted by the surrounding water which opposed resistance to them. It is the risk to which the Church gradually is exposed when, over the times, moves away from the original one described at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles: ” They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers …. wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day …. breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God” (Acts 2,42-47). With the elapsing of the time the sense of the sharing, of the joy, of the simplicity of heart, of the prayer and of the praise together is lost. Sometines, however, the Lord sends a saint to throw another stone into the river, so that the concentric circles resume strength and evidence. Recently several have been posted: St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II. Even today, because of the faith, many people are ”cured from their disease” and others “troubled with unclean spirits” are freed. And the work of salvation of the world continues.