Memory of the Poor

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Memory of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380); she worked for peace, for the unity of Christians, and for the poor.

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

2 Corinthians 13, 1-13

This will be the third time I have confronted you. Whatever the misdemeanour, the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain a charge.

I gave you notice once, and now, though I am not with you, I give notice again, just as when I was with you for a second time, to those who sinned before, and to all others; and it is to this effect, that when I do come next time, I shall have no mercy.

Since you are asking for a proof that it is Christ who speaks in me; he is not weak with you but his power is at work among you;

for, though it was out of weakness that he was crucified, he is alive now with the power of God. We, too, are weak in him, but with regard to you we shall live with him by the power of God.

Put yourselves to the test to make sure you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Do you not recognise yourselves as people in whom Jesus Christ is present?-unless, that is, you fail the test.

But we, as I hope you will come to recognise, do not fail the test.

It is our prayer to God that you may do nothing wrong -- not so that we have the credit of passing a test, but because you will be doing what is right, even if we do not pass the test.

We have no power to resist the truth; only to further the truth;

and we are delighted to be weak if only you are strong. What we ask in our prayers is that you should be made perfect.

That is why I am writing this while still far away, so that when I am with you I shall not have to be harsh, with the authority that the Lord has given me, an authority that is for building up and not for breaking down.

To end then, brothers, we wish you joy; try to grow perfect; encourage one another; have a common mind and live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with the holy kiss. All God's holy people send you their greetings.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul, at the end of the letter, speaks in a friendly tone and announces once again his third visit. Invoking a text of Deuteronomy on the validity of three witnesses, he believes that it will be an important moment because it will reaffirm the Gospel he preached as the foundation of personal and community life. Paul recalls one of the pillars of Christian life, namely that the apostle – and the one called to succeed him – speaks in the name of Christ. Of little account is his weakness or even his human qualities. What makes him strong is being conformed to Christ, being sent by Christ. In fact, Christ’s power is shown not in the human qualities of the disciples but solely in the weakness that knows how to welcome and receive Christ’s limitless love. This is the “weak force” that gives life to the community, which builds up and makes it “powerful” against the forces of evil of this world. We are all weak, but in us is manifested every day the power of God who brings to life. Perhaps the Corinthians, forgetting this fundamental truth of the Christian life, had entrusted themselves to those who were stronger than themselves. And pressed by problems and internal conflicts, they had even forgotten that Jesus Christ was dwelling in the community. However, the apostle does not want to visit the community in order to deal with internal problems and in consequence to act severely. He wishes that, before his visit, the Corinthians would decide in favour of the Gospel. For this reason he invites them to act according to the truth, to be steadfast and strong, calling them to live in peace and mutual love. The words of the Apostle are full of gentleness and of love, but together they show the firmness of the apostle who is not afraid to ask his community to decide for the Gospel and for the Lord: “Rejoice, strive for perfection, encourage each other, have the same sentiments, keep the peace, and the God of love and peace will be in you” (v. 11). Thus the apostle closes his Second Letter to the Corinthians. His words touch us because we accept them as a pressing invitation to live also in mutual love, aware and grateful for the strength that God has manifested in our weakness for the edification of the community and for the communication of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.