Memory of the Poor

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Memory of the saints Addai and Mari, founders of the Chaldean church.

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 6, 10-20

Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power.

Put on the full armour of God so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics.

For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens.

That is why you must take up all God's armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance on the evil day, or stand your ground even though you exert yourselves to the full.

So stand your ground, with truth a belt round your waist, and uprightness a breastplate,

wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace

and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to quench the burning arrows of the Evil One.

And then you must take salvation as your helmet and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God.

In all your prayer and entreaty keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people,

and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel

of which I am an ambassador in chains; pray that in proclaiming it I may speak as fearlessly as I ought to.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of his letter, Paul addresses all of the faithful once again and says to them that Christian life is a battle. It is true that the Risen Lord has overcome evil and death once and for all; however, at present, together with Christ, Christians must continue to fight an enemy that has been defeated yet not entirely overcome. We are called to bring to completion the victory of love over hate, of communion over division. Paul reminds us that the devil acts through the powers of evil, which -albeit defeated by Christ- are still active in our old world. The battle is difficult and arduous because it is fought against menacing and insidious powers; the multifaceted face of evil manifests itself in many ways, events, and historical circumstances. Paul talks about the "cosmic powers of the present darkness" and of the "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places," forces that rule over men and women in a subtle but strong way. Therefore, we need the "armour of God" to fight the way God does and with the arms that he provides us. The apostle exhorts us "to brace ourselves with truth," to have a solid knowledge of the Gospel and dress ourselves with the "breastplate of righteousness," which means to receive God’s justification. The description continues with the image of putting on military footwear in order to be ready for the march. We must start walking in order to spread the Gospel of peace that Jesus obtained on the cross and that becomes a reality through reconciliation with all others. The shield that protects a soldier’s entire body is his faith in the Lord, as is written: "The Lord is my strength and my shield, in him my heart trusts" (Ps 28:7). The helmet signifies confidence in salvation. Finally, the Christian receives from God the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: it holds the power to judge and to destroy; it assures a penetrating efficiency, a creative force, the true force of the believer. It is right to think of "the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" (1:13), that works effectively not only as a force that operates in battle to overcome an enemy, but also as the power of love that is able to build the Kingdom of God among men and women. Prayer, especially if insistent, also plays a part in the battle against evil. This truth runs through the whole of the Scriptures, starting from Abraham who intercedes through prayer to save Sodom from destruction, till the prayers said to overcome an enemy. Gathering the historic and saving force of prayer is an urgent need for us, as well as for all Christian communities. If our prayer is raised to God with faith, it always succeeds, as God has repeatedly told us. Paul talks about prayer and supplication in order to underscore the fact that perseverance is required. The prayer for the "saints," said to sustain and defend the life of the community, helps us to remain vigilant and gives force to communicate the Gospel. Paul also asks prayers for himself: "So that when I speak, a message may be given to me." He prays that he may communicate the "mystery of the gospel," the greatness of God’s love for us. The Letter ends with a blessing of peace and grace that come from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. The final greeting is extensive and solemn: it associates peace and love; one cannot exist without the other. Upon these two dimensions rests the force of Christians even today.