Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 15,22-31

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose delegates from among themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them: 'The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of gentile birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without any authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have committed their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.' The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The assembly of Jerusalem - guided by the Spirit - clarified that salvation comes from the Gospel and not from the ritual practices of Judaism. So a letter is written to Antioch and only four abstinences are prescribed to avoid scandals: abstaining from what has been sacrificed to idols, avoiding unlawful unions, not eating "strangled" and blood. The result of assembly and of the decisions marked a turning point: the distinction between Christianity and Judaism became clearer. This does not mean the cancelation of the relationship between the two religions. One could even say that a deep and vital relationship with Judaism is part of Christian identity. Not only are there common roots, but in a certain way they also share a common expectation. The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah. On the contrary, Christians know that the Messiah has already come and yet, at the same time, they are waiting his second coming at the end of time. In this expectation - though we could define it asymmetric - we are all united. Christians know that Jesus has started the new time of the kingdom of God; with his death and resurrection he has defeated death and opened the new kingdom. This newness is certainly a gift, but it is also a responsibility so that each disciple of Jesus work to transform the world with the ferment of the Gospel.