Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Thessalonians 2, 1-12

About the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers, and our being gathered to him:

please do not be too easily thrown into confusion or alarmed by any manifestation of the Spirit or any statement or any letter claiming to come from us, suggesting that the Day of the Lord has already arrived.

Never let anyone deceive you in any way. It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and there has appeared the wicked One, the lost One,

the Enemy, who raises himself above every so-called God or object of worship to enthrone himself in God's sanctuary and flaunts the claim that he is God.

Surely you remember my telling you about this when I was with you?

And you know, too, what is still holding him back from appearing before his appointed time.

The mystery of wickedness is already at work, but let him who is restraining it once be removed,

and the wicked One will appear openly. The Lord will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will annihilate him with his glorious appearance at his coming.

But the coming of the wicked One will be marked by Satan being at work in all kinds of counterfeit miracles and signs and wonders,

and every wicked deception aimed at those who are on the way to destruction because they would not accept the love of the truth and so be saved.

And therefore God sends on them a power that deludes people so that they believe what is false,

and so that those who do not believe the truth and take their pleasure in wickedness may all be condemned.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle writes this letter in order to combat false interpretations of the Gospel. He speaks not as a boss but as a brother: "We beg you, brothers and sisters," he writes to the Thessalonians. To Philemon, he writes, "I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced" (Philem 14). Paul puts aside every resentment so that the truth and love of the Christ can be preserved. Many in the Thessalonian community lived in a "fanatical waiting" for the "parousia" of the Lord, thus putting at risk the basic attitudes of soberness and watchfulness which characterize Christian conduct in the world. The apostle knows that the day will come when the whole community, if it has followed the Lord’s word, will be welcomed into the triumphal procession, which shall accompany Christ when he returns. All those who have persevered in faith and in love will share in this triumph at the end of time. As is usual in public life, emperors and sovereigns were solemnly received when they arrived in a city, thus so the Lord, with all believers and amidst expressions of honour, shall make his entry into the new city of God. That day shall be fulfilled the full and definitive union of the Church with Christ. At Thessalonica, a lot of Christians were saying that the day of the Lord was now near. This frightened many, causing deep divisions in the community. Perhaps the reproaches that the apostle makes a bit later (3:6-16) should be connected with these inconveniences. Some, in fact, had even left their jobs and sought to be sustained by the community. Jesus, in truth, said, "Keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly" (Mk 13:35ff). The apostle warns against passing on false teachings. He explains that the end of time will be characterized by a great tribulation which will fall upon the world: pain, hatred and destruction will make humanity suffer, because in many, love will have grown cold. Such a tribulation will be a great temptation even for the faithful. Only because the Lord shall shorten this period of time will the saints be able to persevere. Many, on the other hand, will abandon the received teachings in order to fall into sin and the following of the "Antichrist." In truth, the power of the Antichrist has always been at work trying to distance men and women from Christ. At the end of time, however, he shall show himself in person, as is written in the book of Daniel: "He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law" (Dan. 7:25). The essence of the sin of the Antichrist consists in the unlimited exaltation of self, leading man to complete ruin. Paul scolds the community because he had already spoken to them about all this, but apparently they had forgotten it. He calls to mind again what he had preached and makes clear that the adversary, despite his enormous arrogance, is bound to submit himself to God. The Lord guides history; even his enemies are at his service. The adversary looks to take God down from his throne in the life of mankind, but since the time that Christ has come, the "last days" have arrived, but as Jesus himself said: "The good news must first be proclaimed to all nations" (Mk 13:l0). Jesus’ disciples live out this time as a struggle against evil in order to build up love. Paul lays hold of Isaiah: "And then the adversary will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the splendour of his coming" (2:8). Jesus begins this time, saying to the disciples who had victoriously returned from their mission, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning" (Lk 10:18). Christian life is always a struggle against evil, but the Lord shows us already now the beginnings of victory.