Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Timothy 3, 14-16

I write this to you in the hope that I may be able to come to you soon;

but in case I should be delayed, I want you to know how people ought to behave in God's household -- that is, in the Church of the living God, pillar and support of the truth.

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Paul would like to go to Ephesus "soon" in order to find Timothy; he knows, however, that his trip may have to be postponed. In the meantime he sends him some precise instructions to organize in a worthy manner the "household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth." The care of the communities is a constant thought for the apostle; it never leaves him, even if he is far away from them. Writing to Timothy, Paul also thinks of the many communities in Asia Minor; he is concerned that they be firm and not run the risk of being absorbed by the mentality of the world. He therefore writes that the Church is a "pillar and bulwark of the truth," because it has been put by God in this world as a foundation upon which is upheld, visible to all humankind, God’s revelation. The centre of this revealed reality is "the mystery of piety," that is the person of Jesus Christ himself, the merciful one, the one meek and humble of heart. Paul, in six short verses, sings of this mystery of "piety," which may be a hymn which was then sung in the liturgy of the Church. The mystery of Christ is represented in three sets of pairings. The first, "flesh and Spirit," presents Christ’s nature, at once human and divine; to the "revelation" of Christ in the "flesh" is paired "recognition in the Spirit," in other words, his resurrection which has defeated death; through the work of the "Spirit" the Father proclaims before all that Jesus, executed on the cross as an evildoer, is "the Holy and Righteous One" (Acts 3:14). The second pair, "seen by angels," and "proclaimed among Gentiles," refers to the triumphant Christ who has ascended into heaven and become the ruler of history, so that he is not restricted to a particular historical period or people, and this is why his Gospel is also proclaimed to the "Gentiles." With the third pairing, "believed in throughout the world" and "taken up in glory", Paul sings of the victory of Christ lifted up and glorified at the right hand of the Father; and he affirms that "all can agree that this mystery of ‘piety’ is a great one," entrusted by Jesus into the hands of the Church and of each believer. This mystery of piety should be lived and manifested by the Church especially in this time when violence and oppression are rising.