Memory of the Poor

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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

Acts 1,1-8

In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning

until the day he gave his instructions to the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven.

He had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many demonstrations: for forty days he had continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God.

While at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised. 'It is', he had said, 'what you have heard me speak about:

John baptised with water but, not many days from now, you are going to be baptised with the Holy Spirit.'

Now having met together, they asked him, 'Lord, has the time come for you to restore the kingdom to Israel?'

He replied, 'It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority,

but you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to earth's remotest end.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Listening to the first four chapters of the Acts of the Apostles helps us understand the path that each Christian generation should take to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are encouraged to read about the beginning of the first Christian community after the Gospel of Luke, who is author of both. The evangelist speaks to Theophilus and tells him that after writing his "first logos" (that is the Gospel) he is about to tell the story of the life of the Christian community in a second book. Indeed, the Acts of the Apostles starts right where the Gospel ends, or, better, after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, when the ‘Logo’ walks along the streets of men and women through the community of disciples. Jesus’ Gospel is at the foundation of the Acts of the Apostles as well as of each Christian community in the centuries to follow. The Gospel is a ‘living’ foundation from which the energy and strength that makes the community of disciples steadfast continues to spring. The life for the first community and for each disciple springs from the Gospel, that is from "all that Jesus did and taught." Luke underlines the encounters of the disciples with Jesus before and after his death. The direct experience with Jesus, before and after the Resurrection, was for the disciples a founding and unforgettable experience. In the forty days following his death, Jesus "presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs ... and speaking about the kingdom of God" (1:3). He "opened their minds to understand the scriptures" (Lk 24:45). The disciples understood more deeply than they had in the three previous years who this extraordinary Teacher was. Jesus urged them not to stay inside. The very day of Easter he found them while they were in the upper room "with the doors closed." Now, while he is about to go up to heaven, he asked them to be his witnesses "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (v. 8). Good will is not enough to fulfil this commandment; they need the help of the Holy Spirit: they will wait for the Spirit in Jerusalem being together in prayer and fraternal life. Since the very beginning of the life of the Christian community, there is no room for self-centred efforts, as generous as they can be. Everything starts from the communion given to us by the Holy Spirit in which they will be baptized "not many days from now." The testimony of the Gospel of love can come only from communion. The disciples asked for an explanation about the time when the kingdom of love will be fulfilled. Jesus replies that none can know fully the mystery of the kingdom, and yet all the disciples are called to witness everywhere the love that Jesus lived first. With Pentecost, a new spiritual energy will guide and sustain the disciples in their path along the streets of the world. This is how the Logos "grows" and "spreads" to the ends of the earth.