Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 2,12-17

'Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum and say, "Here is the message of the one who has the sharp sword, double-edged:

I know where you live, in the place where Satan is enthroned, and that you still hold firmly to my name, and did not disown your faith in me even when my faithful witness, Antipas, was killed among you, where Satan lives.

"Nevertheless, I have one or two charges against you: some of you are followers of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap for the Israelites so that they committed adultery by eating food that had been sacrificed to idols;

and among you too there are some also who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

So repent, or I shall soon come to you and attack these people with the sword out of my mouth.

Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: to those who prove victorious I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it."


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The third letter is to the Church of Pergamum, located about one hundred kilometres (sixty miles) from Smyrna. The city was known for its famous library. But there were also many temples there dedicated to the different Greek gods, including a sanctuary of Asclepius, the god of the sick, and a temple used in the cult of the emperor Augustus (the apostle says that the city is "where Satan’s throne is"). But despite the presence of these idols, the Christian community of Pergamum had not renounced the faith; indeed it had given courageous witness of its faithfulness to Jesus. The truth is that believers often instead give in and compromise with the many idols that the world proposes. This is not what Antipas, the bishop of the city, did. According to later accounts of his martyrdom, the bishop of Pergamum was burned alive in a glowing bronze bull under the rule of Domitian. In truth, the Nicolaitan doctrine, already alluded to in the letter to Church of Ephesus (2:6), had insinuated itself into the community. This religious degeneration is compared to the "teaching of Balaam," the magician called on by the king of Moab, Balak, to curse the Hebrews as they marched over his territory towards the promised land (Num 22-24). Balaam became a source of temptation for the Israelites (Num 31:15-16), pushing them towards idolatrous practices and polluting the purity of their faith with pagan rituals. Jesus calls the community of Pergamum back to the purity of evangelic faith. And he adds that those who preserve the radical nature of faith - those who do not bend and compromise with the world - will receive the "hidden manna" from heaven, that is, holy nourishment will accompany along the path of life, and they will receive a "white stone" on which a new name is written. It is the new vocation that the Gospel gives to each disciple. This is what happened to Simon when, after his confession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, he heard the Lord say to him: "You are Peter." On that day Simon received the vocation of being a "rock" for his brothers and sisters.