Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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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 Timothy 3,1-13

Here is a saying that you can rely on: to want to be a presiding elder is to desire a noble task. That is why the presiding elder must have an impeccable character. Husband of one wife, he must be temperate, discreet and courteous, hospitable and a good teacher; not a heavy drinker, nor hot-tempered, but gentle and peaceable, not avaricious, a man who manages his own household well and brings his children up to obey him and be well-behaved: how can any man who does not understand how to manage his own household take care of the Church of God? He should not be a new convert, in case pride should turn his head and he incur the same condemnation as the devil. It is also necessary that he be held in good repute by outsiders, so that he never falls into disrepute and into the devil's trap. Similarly, deacons must be respectable, not double-tongued, moderate in the amount of wine they drink and with no squalid greed for money. They must hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. They are first to be examined, and admitted to serve as deacons only if there is nothing against them. Similarly, women must be respectable, not gossips, but sober and wholly reliable. Deacons must be husbands of one wife and must be people who manage their children and households well. Those of them who carry out their duties well as deacons will earn a high standing for themselves and an authoritative voice in matters concerning faith in Christ Jesus.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After speaking of common prayer, the apostle calls Timothy's attention to the care in the choice of the community leaders. And he begins by talking about the "bishop" (literally "he who watches"). Paul knows that this ministry is "a noble task." In fact, the bishop is called to be among the disciples "as one who serves" precisely as Jesus showed himself at the last supper. The presence of this ministry does not decrease the responsibility that each disciple has for the life of the brothers and sisters. The spirit of fraternity that must reign in the community requires it. The "bishop" is asked, precisely for his guiding role, to be aware of his responsibility. Authority in the Church is based primarily on the exemplariness of life: from it emanates the authority of those who must guide the brothers and sisters. For this reason the apostle asks that the "bishop" be "married only once", as if to emphasize his fidelity to a single bond. He should also be also moderate, showing wisdom in judging and deciding, and ready in hospitality. As if to underline the bond between the family of God and the domestic family, Paul asks the bishop for the same qualities as a father in the family: only he who knows how to be a father, brother and son in the spirit of the Gospel can indicate the right way of the Christian fraternity to the brothers and sisters of the community. Next to the ministry of "bishop" Paul recalls that of the deacon. It is a delicate ministry in the life of the first Christian communities. Only after having secured their conduct can they be chosen for this service. And they must "hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience" since they assist the poor, preach and baptize. Nothing harms faith as pride and protagonism that in fact deny the truth of being "servants" inscribed in the very term of a deacon. It could also be said that they show the bishop and all the believers that the life of the disciple must always be "diaconal", that is, a service to the Gospel, to the community and to the poor.