Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Michael the Archangel. The Ethiopian Church, one of the first among the African churches, venerates him as its protector.

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

Zechariah 8, 20-23

'Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "In the future, peoples and citizens of many cities will come;

and citizens of one city will go to the next and say: We must certainly go to entreat Yahweh's favour and seek out Yahweh Sabaoth; I am going myself.

Yes, many peoples and great nations will seek out Yahweh Sabaoth in Jerusalem and entreat Yahweh's favour."

'Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "In those days, ten men from nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say: We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This prophecy from Zechariah aims at widening the view of the Israelites so they adhere to the universal vision of God. Indeed, God elected Israel as His people not to dwell in its boundaries, but to communicate God’s vision of love to all the nations. No people is excluded from the vision of God. He is the father of all: this is His representation in these words of the Prophet, as will be shown clearly in Jesus. Then these words will be fully significant. In verses 22-23 there is a vision: all the inhabitants of the earth shall come and say to one another: "Come! Let us go to implore the favour of the LORD". There is a common desire, concealed in all peoples. According to this biblical and Christian belief, the Patriarch Athenagoras maintained, "All the peoples are good." Yes, they are good, since the aspiration to gather all in the presence of God can be traced to the innermost core of each people, each faith, each humanism. A singular pilgrimage of believers and people of goodwill can be seen through our faith. They are reaching together the final destination of love, peace, and justice. St. John Paul II gathered in Assisi the believers of all the world religions, to make this spiritual, underground pilgrimage emerge, bringing together these aspirations from the nations. The gathering of so many believers and people of goodwill every year, in different cities, to seek peace, is a continuous miracle. The prophecy continues: In those days ten men of every nationality, speaking different tongues, shall take hold, yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you" (v. 23). This is the mysterious conversion to the Gospel of people who speak different tongues. The Prophet maybe means that not all the peoples will convert, but those who will follow the Gospel will belong to all the nations, cultures, and tongues. This is the mysterious responsibility for all Christians to receive those who adhere to the Gospel. In this time of mission – according to Pope Francis’ call – we should question if we either allow people to take hold of us by the edge of our garments, or rather we prefer to be quiet in our fenced-in areas--even religious ones. These words shake us. Let us wear the garments of the mission and run to the peripheries of our present cities!