Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Colossians 1, 1-8

From Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy

to God's holy people in Colossae, our faithful brothers in Christ. Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

We give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, continually in our prayers,

ever since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show towards all God's holy people

because of the hope which is stored up for you in heaven. News of this hope reached you not long ago through the word of truth, the gospel

that came to you in the same way as it is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world. It has had the same effect among you, ever since you heard about the grace of God and recognised it for what it truly is.

This you learnt from Epaphras, our very dear fellow-worker and a trustworthy deputy for us as Christ's servant,

and it was he who also told us all about your love in the Spirit.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul adds Timothy's greetings to his own and thanks God "always" for the faith of the Christians in Colossae. He has heard of the vitality of the community, and summarizes its life in the three pillars that sustain it: faith, love, and hope. The first is "faith in Christ Jesus", that is, the acceptance of Jesus as the true Good and the only Lord and Saviour. The second is love, the love that the disciples receive from Christ and which leads them to consider others as brothers and sisters, as members of the one family of God. Love removes all boundaries to evangelical love and allows it to act as a leaven of unity for the whole world. Hope, for the apostle, is for the final goal” the unity of all. This ultimate goal, which is already present in the Risen One, is what sustains our faith and keeps our fraternal love alive. The believer, who, through baptism, is immersed in the mystery of Christ, who died and is risen, already lives "with Christ" (3:3). The believer can already be found with the Risen One, even if we are still waiting for his full manifestation. The Christian who receives baptism is like a seed, which already contains its entire future and is waiting for its fulfilment. By referring to these three pillars in his open words of thanksgiving, Paul reveals his concern for a community that risks being polluted by a false sense of security. He calls it back to the essential: a personal relationship with Christ and fraternal communion. The Gospel, the apostle insists, does not deceive; it is trustworthy. And it is already bearing fruit. The apostle is not just thinking of the Colossians; he is thinking of the other communities that are emerging in other regions of the Roman Empire. Before his eyes, and so before his joys and concerns, he sees the one Gospel taking flesh in many local communities, giving life to the one Church. Of course, the spread of Christianity was still limited in the apostle's time, but its universal dimension was already clear. After all, Jesus had compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, that would grow as big as a tree. But the community can grow only if it stays connected to the sap of the seed and the strength of the leaven. Paul and Timothy had learned from Epaphras, the man who had started the community of Colossae, that the Holy Spirit was at work in the hearts of all (this is the only time the Spirit is mentioned in the Letter). It is truly a community in good health, that is, a Church that continues to listen to the Gospel and put it into practice. In this sense, the bonds they have to Epaphras also connect them to Paul and Timothy, creating the fraternity of the Church, a force that can change the world. ?