Memory of the Poor

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Feast of Mary of Mount Carmel.

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

1 Peter 3, 1-7

In the same way, you wives should be obedient to your husbands. Then if there are some husbands who do not believe the Word, they may find themselves won over, without a word spoken, by the way their wives behave,

when they see the reverence and purity of your way of life.

Your adornment should be not an exterior one, consisting of braided hair or gold jewellery or fine clothing,

but the interior disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, so precious in the sight of God.

That was how the holy women of the past dressed themselves attractively -- they hoped in God and were submissive to their husbands;

like Sarah, who was obedient to Abraham, and called him her lord. You are now her children, as long as you live good lives free from fear and worry.

In the same way, husbands must always treat their wives with consideration in their life together, respecting a woman as one who, though she may be the weaker partner, is equally an heir to the generous gift of life. This will prevent anything from coming in the way of your prayers.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle Peter, after having addressed the slaves, turns now to the women. At that time women were in a particularly weak condition, even if the apostle is speaking to well-off women who know how to dress and wear jewellery (3:3). Their situation, nonetheless, was weak: according to the social hierarchy, women were fully subject to the head of the household and did not play an active role in society. But, precisely such a condition rendered them closer to Christ. In Scripture there is a singular "Biblical law" according to which the Lord has a privileged love for the weak. Therefore, like the slaves, the women also went to the people in charge of the community with their burden of pain. The apostle does not call them to resignation; on the contrary, he encourages them to touch their husbands by their exemplary Christian conduct. In this way they will be able to reach the hearts of the husbands so that they will turn towards Jesus. Probably Peter was dealing with mixed marriage with a Christian wife and a still pagan husband; in any event the exhortation can be enlarged and referred also to husbands toward their wives. A virtuous, irreproachable and pure conduct can convince even the most hardened of men to yield themselves to the Lord. Peter therefore inspires them, above all else, to adorn their inner selves so as to be able to attract the men to a life of the Gospel. Peter’s exhortation is very appropriate for a world like ours in which exterior beauty is often cared for and exalted, and not so much the inner one. This care for the "inner beauty" follows closely Jesus’ appeal to his disciples: "Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Mt 11:29). Humility and gentleness are a precious adornment that renders holiness attractive, as it was for the holy women of the First Testament. Peter recalls Sarah, who obeyed Abraham in every instance, and offers her as the model that invites the Christian women to make themselves her "daughters", her imitators. All of this should happen, however, without letting your "fears alarm you", that is with full dignity. These words still resound today with full force, especially where the oppression of women responds to the established mentality of chauvinism. Peter does not fail to ask husbands to have a proper understanding of their wives, recognizing the great value they have in God’s eyes. They should not only pay them respect, but also honour them because they are co-inheritors of the same kingdom. In addition to this, the exhortation encourages the common prayer of the spouses, when they are both Christian, so that it may support their union.