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

1 Timothy 3, 14-16

I write this to you in the hope that I may be able to come to you soon;

but in case I should be delayed, I want you to know how people ought to behave in God's household -- that is, in the Church of the living God, pillar and support of the truth.

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul wants to visit Timothy in Ephesus as soon as possible; however, he knows that his journey might be delayed. In the meantime, he wants to sends him precise instructions about the organization of the Church, the common prayer (2:1-15) and the selection of the sacred ministers (3:1-13). The care for the communities is a steady concern for the apostle; it never leaves him, even if he is physically far from them. When he writes to Timothy, Paul worries about the many Christian communities in Asia Minor as well; he is concerned about their stability and the danger of being reabsorbed by the world. He writes that the Church is "the pillar and the bulwark of the truth," put by God in this world to be the foundation of the revelation of God, visible to all. The core of this revealed truth is the "mystery of our religion," that is the person of Jesus, the merciful, the meek and humble of heart. In six short verses, Paul sings this mystery of religion, in a hymn that was maybe sung in the liturgy of the Church at that time. The mystery of Christ is presented with three pairs of opposites. In the first "flesh and Spirit", he presents the nature both human and divine of Christ: he opposes the vindication in the Spirit to the manifestation in the flesh, namely his Resurrection as a victory over death; by the power of the Spirit, the Father proclaims to everyone that Jesus, sentenced to death on the cross like a criminal, is the Holy and Righteous One (Acts 3:14). The second pair, "seen by angels" and "proclaimed among Gentiles," refers to the triumph of Christ ascended into heaven and master of history, not limited to a defined historical period or to a people. Thus, his Gospel is proclaimed to the Gentiles as well. Through the third pair of opposites, "believed in throughout the world" and "taken up in glory", Paul sings the victory of Christ elevated and glorified at the right hand of the Father; he maintains that "Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great," the Mystery Jesus entrusted into the hands of the Church and of every believer. The Church must live and show this mystery of religion in all ages. This is what the world, and every person, needs.