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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18

We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, to make sure that you do not grieve for them, as others do who have no hope.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that in the same way God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

We can tell you this from the Lord's own teaching, that we who are still alive for the Lord's coming will not have any advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

At the signal given by the voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God, the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise,

and only after that shall we who remain alive be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. This is the way we shall be with the Lord for ever.

With such thoughts as these, then, you should encourage one another.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Have having exhorted the Thessalonians to believe in a manner worthy of the calling they have received, Paul writes about the fate of the deceased. It is not good to remain in doubt like those who do not believe. Evidently there was a climate of sadness that clouded the Thessalonians' hope. Paul urged them to have new feelings: just as we are not saddened by our own deaths because we know that we will rise, so we should not "grieve" for those who have already died. They too will rise. Grief over the death of our loved ones should not leave us in despair. Christian hope is not based on philosophical theories, but on the certainty of the resurrection of Jesus. This is what the apostles transmitted to us in their preaching, after they were witnesses to it: "the one who was dead" truly lived among them, in flesh and blood, albeit in a spiritual way. None of this is part of nature, and it can only be understood through faith. From the resurrection of Jesus, we move to our resurrection and the resurrection of those who have gone before us. Paul writes to the Philippians that we are expecting, from heaven, "The Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself" (Phil 3:21). Creation will be freed from its "bondage to decay" (Rom 8:21) and we will have a "spiritual body" (animated by the Spirit) (1 Cor 15:44). We all find hope in the resurrection of Jesus, whether we are still on earth or whether we have died. Perhaps some of the Thessalonians thought that those who had already died would not take part in the parousia, which they thought was imminent. Paul makes it clear that the resurrection of the dead applies to all believers. The "second" coming of the risen Christ will be nothing other than the full manifestation of the Easter that has already come. The "order" of eternity, which is Christ himself, first applies to those who have already died. Then "we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air," that is we will enter God's heaven. And "so we will be with the Lord for ever. (4:17). Paul says nothing about the tragic end of the world and of sin, and nothing of the new work and our new existence. Because the end and the fulfilment of history will come when we will all be with Christ. Paul urges us to console ourselves with these ?words. The future has already begun with the resurrection of Christ. ?

Memory of the Poor