Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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European Day of Memory of Shoah.

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 10, 1-10

So, since the Law contains no more than a reflection of the good things which were still to come, and no true image of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, by means of the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year.

Otherwise, surely the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins.

But in fact the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices.

Bulls' blood and goats' blood are incapable of taking away sins,

and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.

You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;

then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming,' in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.

He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;

and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.

And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To emphasize the uniqueness of Christ's sacrifice, the sacred author highlights the insufficiency of the old sacrifices, which were unable to eliminate sins: “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Salvation, in fact, does not come from the multiplication of gestures and words, but from the heart and the love we have for the Lord. Jesus himself said something similar about prayer: “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Mt 6:7). The author of the Letter brings us back to the centrality of the Christian mystery: there is no need to multiply our offerings because only Christ's sacrifice saves. The love that led him to give his own life to the point of dying on the cross is the reason for our salvation. The psalmist suggested this when he predicted the incarnation of Christ: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me” (Ps 40, as quoted in Heb 10:5). This quote recalls the Eucharistic “body” of Christ. Even the apostle Paul presents the Lord's Supper as an announcement of the “death of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:26) and its saving strength. The ancient sacrifices did not save from sin because they did not transform the human heart, whereas taking part in the “body” of Christ in the Eucharist transforms the believer into the very body of Jesus, who, now risen, is seated at the right hand of God. From his throne of glory in heaven, Jesus is waiting for his “enemies” to be made his “footstool” (Ps 110:1). With his resurrection, Jesus has now defeated forever the prince of evil and death itself and is waiting for the full manifestation of his victory. And, wherever the Christian community gathers for the Eucharist, it celebrates this victory. We know that we are still waiting for the “perfection” to which we have been called, but the road has now been definitively opened: it is communion with Christ. Christians are invited to make a decision to follow this road every day, with vigilance and prayer, being careful not to stumble. In Christ's sacrifice, the life of a man who wanted to save us, not himself, reached its fulfilment. In him, all violence was banished from the world. And today, January 27, the Day Europe maintains the Memory of the Holocaust, how can we not remember the horrible violence that six million Jews suffered in the Nazi extermination camps. May this day be for all an indelible memory and warning against the rising tide of anti-Semitism and every form of racism, which leads to scorn and eventually to the elimination of the other.