Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Prayer for the unity of the Churches. Particular memory of the ancient Churches of the Orient. (Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian, Assyrian)

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

Hebrews 6, 10-20

God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the holy people of God.

Our desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same enthusiasm till the ultimate fulfilment of your hope,

never growing careless, but taking as your model those who by their faith and perseverance are heirs of the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since there was no one greater he could swear by:

I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants.

Because of that, Abraham persevered and received fulfilment of the promise.

Human beings, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between them, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute.

In the same way, when God wanted to show the heirs of the promise even more clearly how unalterable his plan was, he conveyed it by an oath

so that through two unalterable factors in which God could not be lying, we who have fled to him might have a vigorous encouragement to grasp the hope held out to us.

This is the anchor our souls have, reaching right through inside the curtain

where Jesus has entered as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

By sending his Son, God intervened in the history of the world in a definitive way, and ensured his enduring presence. The Letter to the Hebrews insists on God's oath, the solemn promise God had made to Abraham and Israel. This oath implied that God would be faithful and committed to carrying out all that he had promised, that is, the salvation of the people that God had chosen as his “own.” The oath that God made to Abraham was a gratuitous act of love. Christians are part of this ancient story. Jesus brought it to fulfilment, without erasing it. This is why the letter to the Hebrews insists on the link with Abraham and the promises the Lord made to the Patriarch. Through Abraham, Melchizedek too is placed within the story of salvation, even though he is not a Jew. We could say that no one can build his or her life outside the context of a larger story. Sometimes we succumb to the temptation of thinking that we are unique and unrepeatable, as if everything started and ended with us. This way of thinking costs us the joy of taking part in the history of a people, the Christian people, but even earlier, of the people of the promise made to Abraham, the people of Israel to whom the disciples of Jesus are particularly bound, because it is through them that the promises reached us. The author of the letter is writing to a community into which had crept doubt and resignation, as well as a sense that their work was not being recognized. Just before this passage, he had written: “For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints (i.e. Christians). And we want each one of you to show the same diligence, so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” When we forget the story of love into which we have been placed, we risk letting a desire to claim our rights prevail. This in turn leads to a laziness that brings us far from the “diligence,” the passion for the Gospel of Jesus that is always expected of Christians, as at present Pope Francis never ceases to recall. Let us seize “the hope set before us” so that we too may become bearers of God's promises, of his loving plan for all of humanity, and of his presence, especially in places where suffering and pain mark the existence of men and women. Jesus will never fail to provide what is necessary to those who trust in him, because He is Lord of the Sabbath and of history.