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

Ephesians 3, 14-21

This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father,

from whom every fatherhood, in heaven or on earth, takes its name.

In the abundance of his glory may he, through his Spirit, enable you to grow firm in power with regard to your inner self,

so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love,

with all God's holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth;

so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God.

Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine;

glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Confronted with the revelation of the incomprehensible richness of Christ, Paul "bows his knees before the Father" and prays for the Ephesians. He asks God that the Spirit may strengthen them and fortify their interior being. The Spirit is the force of God that operates in the depth of the heart, the place of our choices, decisions, and thoughts. It is in our heart, in fact, that change begins; it is here that Christ descends with his word and his grace. At the outset of his preaching, Jesus invited Christians to an inner life: "But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Mt 6:6). To ask the Father for the strength of the Spirit means to ask for a more profound compliance with Christ so that we may be led by the transforming force of his love. Christ’s presence opens the heart and mind to communion with our brothers and sisters. In fact, Christ pushes Paul to live, think and act as he himself lived and acted. The substance of Christ’s dwelling within us is love; it is the "agape," the infinite horizon towards which we progress. The Letter effectively expresses this concept through the image of a plant (to be rooted) and of construction (to be founded). The apostle also prays for the Christians of Ephesus that they may understand together "with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth" of the love of Christ. The mystery of God can only be understood in love, in a life of discipleship and testimony that is lived in community "with all the saints." To know the mystery (which includes listening to the Word) reveals a very important ecclesiastical dimension: the same truths are shared and, most of all, the same truths are lived out together. Through reciprocal love, the brother or sister becomes a mediator of the knowledge of Christ. It is through fraternity that the Spirit works for our interior growth. For this reason, living in unity with our brothers and sisters is indispensable to knowing Christ. Paul’s prayer ends with one last request: to be filled with the fullness of God. In the beginning of the Letter, Paul talks about the fullness (pleroma) of the Church, which is filled with the fullness of Christ (1:23). Now the believers are called to participate in the fullness of God: the Father is the final destination towards which Christ wants to bring us. Once this aim is achieved and we will have been brought into the Father’s womb, Christ will have completed his work of reconciliation so that the Father may be all in all, just as Paul wrote, "When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28). The apostle ends with a word of praise: the unity of humankind is the glory of God, the revelation of his love which will always be over-abundant, beyond our comprehension and beyond our expectations. May we, therefore, give glory to Him "in the Church and in Christ Jesus."