Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 2,8-11

'Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna and say, "Here is the message of the First and the Last, who was dead and has come to life again:

I know your hardships and your poverty, and -- though you are rich -- the slander of the people who falsely claim to be Jews but are really members of the synagogue of Satan.

Do not be afraid of the sufferings that are coming to you. Look, the devil will send some of you to prison to put you to the test, and you must face hardship for ten days. Even if you have to die, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life for your prize.

Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: for those who prove victorious will come to no harm from the second death."


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Through the apostle, Jesus speaks to the community of Smyrna, which suffers at the hands of the "synagogue of Satan." This was the risk run by those Christians who let themselves be influenced by judaizing (N.o.T. keeping the observance of Jewish tradition) tendencies. It was true that resistance could lead to suffering and even prison. There was as strong Jewish community in Smyrna, and it was particularly hostile to the new, rapidly growing Christian community. Towards the middle of the second century, Polycarp, the bishop of the city and, according to tradition, a disciple of the Apostle John, will be martyred. Jesus has the apostle write to the angel of Smyrna that he is well acquainted with the tribulations and the defamation that community is suffering at the hands of its enemies. He exhorts them not to fear, but to persevere in their trials: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (v. 10). By reading this passage we understand that the life of every Christian community - but also the life of every disciple - is always a life of struggle, an existence marked by combat, an agony. Believers need to fight against Evil continuously, the evil in each person’s own heart and the evil outside. Jesus was the first to experience a continuous, unbroken fight against the Evil that continues to lash out against men and women. Opposition to the Gospel is a reality that is present throughout Jesus’ whole life, and it will be present throughout the entire history of Christianity. What is asked of the disciples is to persevere in the struggle against the "prince of this world." This is the context in which we are to understand the words of Jesus: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Mt 10:34). The temptation to imagine a life without worries or a community free from problems is a very dangerous illusion. On the same subject, the Apostle Paul writes: "When they say, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them" (1 Thess 5:3). A greedy and superficial conception of life leads people to flee from the responsibility of struggle and suffering. We are all called to combat Evil, as great or small as it may be. Its logic is always disruptive, and its skill lies in hiding itself in the folds of our individual lives and the life of our community. Whoever fights with generosity and faith in the Lord will achieve victory in this life and next. "Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death" (v. 11), John reassures us.