Prayer for peace

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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, 18-22

Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life,

and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison.

They refused to believe long ago, while God patiently waited to receive them, in Noah's time when the ark was being built. In it only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water.

It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now -- not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

who has entered heaven and is at God's right hand, with angels, ruling forces and powers subject to him.


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 recalls the example of Christ, who came into the world not to condemn sinners, but to save everybody from evil. His apologetic, therefore, is not to defend himself or a doctrine; rather, the apologetic is entirely aimed at saving us from sin and deceit. The life of the disciple then should imitate the life of Jesus, who never ceased from working for the salvation of sinners. Not even after death, we can say, did Jesus ever stop in his mission to save whoever was lost. The apostle Peter reminds us of Jesus’ preaching to the souls in hell, his communication of the Gospel to those who had died so as to free them from their imprisonment. A beautiful tradition, preserved with great care by the Orthodox Church, maintains that Jesus, on Holy Saturday, did not remain still in the sepulchre, but descended into hell to call upon all of the righteous from the First Testament, beginning with Adam. And he pulls all of them up with him to bring them in his kingdom. Jesus is the Saviour of the entirety of humanity, even of those who came before us on the earth. In his infinite goodness, he who shared death with us, comes to free us from the prison of death. In baptism we already participate in this salvation that we will be able to enjoy completely when the Kingdom will reach its fulfilment. Jesus’ descent to hell calls us, disciples of today, to descend into the many hells of this world to liberate the innumerable victims of evil: let us think of the sick who are alone, those dying from hunger, the victims of any violence, those condemned to death, the elderly abandoned in nursing homes, those suffering from AIDS, the exploited and abused children, and all those who are without hope for a better future. There is a need for the good news of God’s love to be brought to these hells that exist in numerous countries of today’s world. This is how we will give an accounting for the hope that is in us; we who first received the good news of the Gospel while we were sinners.