Memory of Jesus crucified

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Remembrance of the terrorist attacks in the United States. Memorial of the victims of terrorism and violence and prayer for peace.

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

1 Timothy 1, 1-2.12-14

Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope,

to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength. By calling me into his service he has judged me trustworthy,

even though I used to be a blasphemer and a persecutor and contemptuous. Mercy, however, was shown me, because while I lacked faith I acted in ignorance;

but the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After his first imprisonment in Rome (61-63), during a missionary trip, Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus as a vicar and leader of the Christian community. Paul had been there for three years from 54 to 57 (Acts 19); then, in his farewell to the elders, when he went back to Jerusalem, he had exhorted them to be vigilant (Acts 20:31). On that occasion, he had foretold that after his departure “Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them” (Acts 20:30). Then, he had asked Timothy to take a firm position against those who proclaimed opinions that were distant from the Gospel. Even if the Letter is addressed to Timothy, it is meant to be shared with the entire community that runs the risk of abandoning its vocation, due to false teachers. Paul recalls his authority as an apostle, and requests everyone to listen to Timothy as if they were listening to himself. Thus he clarifies the sense of authority in the Christian community. Those who guide the community have the task to serve unity and to safeguard the faithfulness to the preaching of the apostles. First of all, they have to build the community through preaching, while opposing those who spread falsity. Paul does not describe falsity; rather he emphasizes its effects. The rise of anger and arguments made the fraternal communion difficult, and this led to a distancing from God. This distance from God proved the falseness of such doctrines. The Gospel, indeed, has been communicated to grow our love for God and for our brothers and sisters. Such love is not founded on our attitudes, nor it is measured on account of our beliefs, rather it is founded on listening to the Word of God. When desire to build this family shaped on the Gospel is lacking, we just speak meaninglessly, the apostle says. He had written to the Corinthians that if we do not have love we are “a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1). This always happens when we forget to be disciples and we claim to be “teachers of the law.” Arrogance is a seed of death in the Christian community because it is a core threat to love. Paul maintains that the law is good since it was given to prepare the Gospel: it is “our disciplinarian until Christ came,” as he wrote to the Galatians (Gal 3:24). So, when Jesus came, “the end of the law” (Rom 10:4) came. Certainly, it is useful to the disciples, but only if it is meant as a support to be faithful to the Gospel. In fact, disciples of Jesus, who have been ransomed from sin, are accepted in the community and saved in the fraternal communion. The apostle, aware that the law is for sinners, makes a list of them: lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave-traders, liars, perjurers … The law was given to all of them to restrain their destructive instincts to do evil. Truly, we are all aware that we are slaves to our own instincts. Therefore we need not to despise the law, which is a strict discipline aimed at softening our harshness, avoiding oppression, keeping bad and violent thoughts away, and so on. The Gospel of love – far from being a new law – demands however a discipline of the hearts so that we do not suffocate with our opposition the love poured into us by the Lord. Only the love of the Lord saves us, but we must allow it to work in our lives. The Gospel entrusted to Paul is therefore announcing the liberation from the law through the Gospel of love. Therefore, those who consider themselves righteous and exempt from evil should be careful because they might not be able to accept the freedom of love, which is the only one that can cut off our complicity with evil. On the contrary, those who admit their sin and feel their need of salvation will welcome and understand the love poured out by God.