Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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The Syrian Church remembers Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see the Lord and received as a gift the conversion of his heart.


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

1 Thessalonians 2,1-8

You know yourselves, my brothers, that our visit to you has not been pointless. Although, as you know, we had received rough treatment and insults at Philippi, God gave us the courage to speak his gospel to you fearlessly, in spite of great opposition. Our encouragement to you does not come from any delusion or impure motives or trickery. No, God has approved us to be entrusted with the gospel, and this is how we preach, seeking to please not human beings but God who tests our hearts. Indeed, we have never acted with the thought of flattering anyone, as you know, nor as an excuse for greed, God is our witness; nor have we ever looked for honour from human beings, either from you or anybody else, when we could have imposed ourselves on you with full weight, as apostles of Christ. Instead, we lived unassumingly among you. Like a mother feeding and looking after her children, we felt so devoted to you, that we would have been happy to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, so dear had you become.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul recalled the fruitful action of God in Thessalonica, even more so, for he had arrived there after the sad experiences suffered in Philippi, where together with Silvanus he was whipped, imprisoned and eventually obliged to leave the city. Even in Thessalonica Paul proclaimed the gospel of God "despite great opposition." In spite of all that, Paul felt neither discouraged nor depressed. His strength was in his union with God who produces freedom and trust to preach the Gospel. The apostle clearly affirmed that his preaching is righteous and sincere, free from any personal interest, for he received this task from God himself. And he should always be accountable to God. Therefore God's approval was more important than that of other people, and this is why he is not searching for people's favour. Instead he preaches God's truth "whether the time is favourable or unfavourable" (2 Tm 4:2). Paul was aware he should keep both ambition and greed far. As an apostle he could have insisted on his personal authority demanding respect and honour. But on the contrary, he preferred the way of meekness and of selfless dedication to others. He behaved as a mother, better as a mother who offers to her child not just milk, but all her love. From here springs a true pastoral passion of the apostle who says: "So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves" (1Thess 2:8). The proclamation of the Gospel always urges Christians to have an overwhelming love that leads to give one's life; this is how the apostle devotes himself to the proclamation of the Word of God not only with the words but with the example of his behaviour in the community. When the Gospel is acted on in life, its preaching gains strength and effectiveness to change the hearts.