Memory of the Poor

Share On

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

Ephesians 3, 1-13

It is because of this that I, Paul, a prisoner of the Lord Jesus on behalf of you gentiles. . .

You have surely heard the way in which God entrusted me with the grace he gave me for your sake;

he made known to me by a revelation the mystery I have just described briefly-

a reading of it will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ.

This mystery, as it is now revealed in the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, was unknown to humanity in previous generations:

that the gentiles now have the same inheritance and form the same Body and enjoy the same promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

I have been made the servant of that gospel by a gift of grace from God who gave it to me by the workings of his power.

I, who am less than the least of all God's holy people, have been entrusted with this special grace, of proclaiming to the gentiles the unfathomable treasure of Christ

and of throwing light on the inner workings of the mystery kept hidden through all the ages in God, the Creator of everything.

The purpose of this was, that now, through the Church, the principalities and ruling forces should learn how many-sided God's wisdom is,

according to the plan which he had formed from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In him we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him;

so, I beg you, do not let the hardships I go through on your account make you waver; they are your glory.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

God’s great plan for humanity, the unity of all peoples and their access to the Father, is the scope of Paul’s mission: "I, Paul, am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you, Gentiles." The apostle Paul underlines the importance of the bond with Christ who has chosen him and sent him to the Gentiles, to all those who do not belong to the people of Israel. Paul feels that he is a "prisoner" of this mission in the sense that he lives it totally dependent on the Lord. Surely, he is an apostle as any other (Eph 2:20); however, more than others, he deserves the title of "apostle of the nations." Paul is aware of the magnitude of his mission, that of "becoming servant of his gospel." Nonetheless, this mission does not arouse his pride; he knows well from what kind of life he has been pulled away and for which mission he has been chosen. His past condition as a persecutor of the Church causes him to acknowledge, "For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God" (1 Cor 15:9). He consider himself not only the least of the apostles but also the "very least" among the saints and all the Christians. Paul underlines his smallness in order to highlight the greatness of the vocation he has received, namely, to communicate the "boundless riches of Christ." This mystery that has been manifested to him is inaccessible to natural experiences. Only God can reveal it. And for Paul, it has been a sweeping spiritual experience, a light that has penetrated the depth of his heart and enabled him, in turn, to enlighten men and women (2 Cor 4:6). In Paul’s experience, we might see the charismatic dimension of the Church that continues to be present today in various ways. The "mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints" (Col 1:26.) is that Christ encapsulates all: he reconciles Jews and pagans, eliminates hate and gathers all men, women, and peoples into the only Church. We are all called to unite in Christ and become one "new humanity," one family made up of all peoples. The Church is the instrument through which Christ wants to bring reconciliation among all the peoples of the world. Its internal unity is the impetus that creates unity among all peoples. This is what Jesus himself prayed for: "That they may all be one... so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17:21). The task of the Church is to enlighten and free men and women from all oppressive force - be it cultural, political or religious - in order to reunite the entire family of peoples. The community of the faithful becomes the mediator of the new relationship that - through Jesus - God has established with all of humankind. This is an arduous and difficult task. For this reason, Paul invites us not to be discouraged. The tribulations that this task entails are the sign of a new birth, the generation of a new humanity.