Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memory of St. Benedict (+547), father of western monks and their guide through the rule that carries his name

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

1 Peter 1, 22-25; 2,1-3

Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves so that you can experience the genuine love of brothers, love each other intensely from the heart;

for your new birth was not from any perishable seed but from imperishable seed, the living and enduring Word of God.

For all humanity is grass, and all its beauty like the wild flower's. As grass withers, the flower fades,

but the Word of the Lord remains for ever. And this Word is the Good News that has been brought to you.

Rid yourselves, then, of all spite, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and carping criticism.

Like new-born babies all your longing should be for milk -- the unadulterated spiritual milk -- which will help you to grow up to salvation,

at any rate if you have tasted that the Lord is good .


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle Peter, with a fourth exhortation, invites the disciples to "obedience to the truth", that is, to a "true obedience" to the Gospel, to its observance "without additions" as Saint Francis of Assisi said. Obedience to the Gospel is made real by neighbourly love, by the birth of a community, that is, brothers and sisters who love one another. Fraternal love is not a question of character but it is the fruit of listening to the Gospel. Just as the people of Israel were born as though from the law of Mount Sinai, now the Gospel gives birth to the new people of the disciples of Jesus. This is why the apostle says, "You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God." Indeed, the Word of God is that "imperishable seed" that, planted in the heart of believers, makes them reborn to a new life, forming them into a community of brothers and sisters. Aware of the fragility of our human condition we entrust ourselves to it like the rock on which we build our life. This Word is efficacious and never fails: it "endures forever," Peter reminds us. From it gushes forth the strength that renders the disciples capable of loving each other, and from it they are sustained and preserved in a true and lasting fraternity. The author presents Christian life as a new birth, fruit of the Word of God that is also the milk with which we nourish ourselves in order to grow. Christians should continuously take nourishment from its maternal milk. The apostle, comparing the new people to a family, exhorts the disciples to live like new-born babies, that is like babies who trustingly abandon themselves in the hands of their mother, the Church. The indispensable discipleship to the Gospel always renders Christians children of the Church, thus always children in need of the good and caring mother that is the Church. This spiritual nourishment changes us from individuals into a "we", the we of the Church that frees us from the individualism to which the world accustoms us. Perhaps St. Augustine took these words of Peter to create the image of the believer who is invited to read the scripture on the lap of the mother Church. This is how we can grow and become strong in love. It is from the Gospel love that the strength comes to depose malice, envy and slander, which result from the wicked mentality of this world.