Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of St. Giuseppe Puglisi, priest of the Church of Palermo, who was killed by mafia

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 12, 35-38

'See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit.

Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks.

Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them.

It may be in the second watch that he comes, or in the third, but blessed are those servants if he finds them ready.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In contrast to the unwise rich man who was surprised by death, Jesus talks of the disciple who waits for the Lord. Vigilance becomes one of the most fundamental dimensions of the Christian life. Those who stay focused on themselves and fall asleep are asked to turn their gaze upwards and be waiting for the Lord’s return. Jesus says, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.” To be dressed for action means that one is to be prepared for immediate action. Indeed, this is how the Israelites had to be when they fled from Egypt: they had to gird their loins, that is to be ready to leave at any moment (Ex 12:11). Keeping the lamps lit meant the same thing: being ready for action even at night. Waiting for the Lord is the beatitude of the believer. This Gospel passage is a reminder for those whose gaze is self-focused and unwilling to wait in vigilance and it gives us the beatitude of hope in the possibility of an encounter with the Lord in our lives. In the parable of the arrival of the bridegroom, Jesus underlines that our waiting is not empty but actually full: “Be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.” In fact, as it is written in the book of Revelation, the Lord stands everyday before the door of our hearts and knocks. Blessed are those who open the door because they will receive an incredible reward: the Master himself will become their servant and will gird himself and invite them to sit at table and will come and serve them. The roles have reversed. This seems incredible but it is the very paradoxical nature of the grace we have received. Jesus presents himself as the one who serves and not only does he say it, but he acts accordingly. Throughout the Last Supper, Jesus behaved literally like a servant: taking a basin, he tied a towel around his waist and one by one, washed the feet of the disciples. This image is an integral part of the Gospel message that announces that God loves us to the point of bending down at our feet. This is what happens every time we welcome the Lord in prayer or in service to the poor and especially during the holy Liturgy in which he prepares a banquet and feeds us with his Word and flesh. The beatitude of waiting for the Lord does not consist in what we can offer to him as much as in the benefit that we receive when we welcome him into our hearts. The Lord comes to serve, help and liberate us to bring us to Heaven at his side.