Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Timothy 5, 17-25

Elders who do their work well while they are in charge earn double reward, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

As scripture says: You must not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn; and again: The worker deserves his wages.

Never accept any accusation brought against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.

If anyone is at fault, reprimand him publicly, as a warning to the rest.

Before God, and before Jesus Christ and the angels he has chosen, I charge you to keep these rules impartially and never to be influenced by favouritism.

Do not be too quick to lay hands on anyone, and never make yourself an accomplice in anybody else's sin; keep yourself pure.

You should give up drinking only water and have a little wine for the sake of your digestion and the frequent bouts of illness that you have.

The faults of some people are obvious long before they come to the reckoning, while others have faults that are not discovered until later.

Similarly, the good that people do can be obvious; but even when it is not, it cannot remain hidden.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Paul urges Timothy to be attentive to the elders. He already mentioned them (4:14) when he reminded Timothy of the day when they had laid hands on him. Paul asks Timothy to have the community reserve a "double honour" for the elders and to hold them in esteem and veneration because they have been entrusted with both preaching and teaching. Because of this, they even have a right to be economically supported in their ministry. The apostle knows how necessary their service is for the community to remain united and faithful to the Gospel. The elder himself should be aware of this and the others should respect his authority. Paul warns Timothy not to let the authority of the elders be weakened and therefore he should refrain from listening to accusations and suspicions against them. This issue is so important that it leads the apostle to use solemn words to encourage Timothy to keep these instructions with the strictest impartiality, without letting himself be influenced by personal sympathy or grudges. Paul knows that the exercise of ecclesiastic discipline in a case against an elder or leader of the community is twice as difficult for Timothy because of his age (4:12). But in cases of fault and sin, no human prudence or resentment should keep him from judging rightly and punishing; otherwise the very existence of the community would be called into question. Anxious to ensure that only worthy elders serve in the Christian community, Paul advises Timothy not to lay hands on someone "hastily," because he could be held complicit in the sins caused by that man if it turns out he is unworthy. He needs to keep himself pure, because by doing so he will be able to judge with greater wisdom. Showing the tenderness of a father, Paul, at this point, gives his disciple some advice about his health: he should no longer drink only water, but take a little wine to keep up his strength. He reminds him that only those men, whose lives are solidly rooted in the ground of the faith, morally pure and proven over time, should be allowed to lead the community.