Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memory of St. Sergii Radonezhsky of the Russian church. He founded the Lavra (monastery) of the Most Holy Trinity near Moscow. Memory of the evangelical pastor Paul Schneider who died in the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald on July 18, 1939.

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 3, 13-17

No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right;

and blessed are you if you have to suffer for being upright. Have no dread of them; have no fear.

Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.

But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations.

And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

"Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?" These words are addressed to the Christians who are suffering heavy hostility. But they will not be harmed because the Lord himself will defend them. This is why the apostle adds that also in a time of persecution Christians are blessed, as also Jesus had said: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake" (Mt 5:10). The beatitude of Christians consists in being with Jesus and witnessing his love. This is what the apostle means by: "make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you" (v.15). Yes, Christians are called to not only render their faith comprehensible, but also to make it appealing to the people of their time. To give "an accounting" does not simply mean to be apologetic or defensive. It means much more than that. The disciples are encouraged to call others to faith and to find ways to touch their mind and heart. It is a task that concerns the entire Christian community and every individual disciple, and requires attention and care both regarding the content of faith and the people to whom we speak. This is why it cannot be performed in a superficial, improvised and arrogant manner. Rather, the apostle exhorts us to do it "with gentleness and reverence" and a clear conscience. The apostle seems to conclude that: "it is better to suffer for doing good... than to suffer for doing evil." Faith is not a club that one uses to bludgeon whoever listens, but is a call that should touch the heart so that whoever listens may understand the sadness of life led so far and may convert the heart to God. It is what Peter had done with his first sermon on the day of Pentecost. The Acts of the Apostles reads that the people "were cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). It is not about giving up our identity and faith, but rather to communicate it with patience and love and always with clarity. This may cause suffering. We see it mainly in the countries where Christians are a persecuted minority or at least are opposed in their living their faith. And yet Peter says that "It is better to suffer for doing good ... than to suffer for doing evil."