Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Deel Op

Memorial of Saint Philip Neri (†1595), "apostle of Rome."


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

Acts 20,17-27

From Miletus he sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them: 'You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus. 'And now you see me on my way to Jerusalem in captivity to the Spirit; I have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear to me that imprisonment and persecution await me. But I do not place any value on my own life, provided that I complete the mission the Lord Jesus gave me -- to bear witness to the good news of God's grace. 'I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so on this very day I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God's purpose.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After landing at Miletus, the apostle sends for the presbyters of the community of Ephesus to come and meet him. The apostle wants to greet them and to leave them their "spiritual last will" since they will be responsible for the community; he starts with the witness of his very life: "You yourselves know how I lived among you." The apostle knows well that "shepherds" must be "examples to the flock." Paul shows himself as the model of a shepherd reminding the presbyters, how he himself lived during his three years of ministry in Ephesus. He sums up the essence of the pastor in one word: "servant." He says to the elders, "You yourselves know how I lived among you...serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me." Paul thus sees his ministry as a "service to the Lord." Thus Jesus has shown us the way, even the way to communicate the Gospel. Indeed, gentleness opens people's hearts and disposes them to listen to the Gospel and to encounter God. Paul tells them that he will go to Jerusalem, not on a whim, but "as a captive of the Spirit." He then confides the elders of Ephesus that he will go to Jerusalem not out of a caprice but because he "is pushed by the Spirit." He does not know what will happen to him, but is aware of the fact that his service to the Lord will bring opposition and trials: he speaks "tribulation" and even mentions death. "Martyrdom" is essential to the Gospel. Albert Schweitzer, the famous Protestant biblical scholar of the last century who went to live in a leper hospital in Africa, wrote: "We must again become capable of feeling in ourselves the heroism that there is in Jesus...Only then will our Christianity and our conception of the world rediscover the heroic and be given life by it." Msgr. Romero said that being a "martyr" means "giving one's own life" for the Lord and for others, whether with blood or in another way. What matters is spending oneself completely to communicate the Gospel.