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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of St. Joseph the worker and World Labour Day

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

Galatians 2, 15-21

We who were born Jews and not gentile sinners

have nevertheless learnt that someone is reckoned as upright not by practising the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ; and we too came to believe in Christ Jesus so as to be reckoned as upright by faith in Christ and not by practising the Law: since no human being can be found upright by keeping the Law.

Now if we too are found to be sinners on the grounds that we seek our justification in Christ, it would surely follow that Christ was at the service of sin. Out of the question!

If I now rebuild everything I once demolished, I prove that I was wrong before.

In fact, through the Law I am dead to the Law so that I can be alive to God. I have been crucified with Christ

and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me. The life that I am now living, subject to the limitation of human nature, I am living in faith, faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

I am not setting aside God's grace as of no value; it is merely that if saving justice comes through the Law, Christ died needlessly.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having resolved the quarrel with Peter, Paul explains the true meaning of justification. In Judaism the theme of salvation had condensed into this question: how can men and women who are sinners find justification before God? Paul responds that we cannot find justification through works, but only through the death and resurrection of Jesus. From that moment on, the sinner is transformed into a just person, because his sin is erased by Jesus’ death and the "old" self can give way to the "new" self. This is what separates the new law from the old. Paul knows that, along with Peter and the other Jewish-Christians; he belongs to the chosen people. He even knows that being "Jewish by birth" grants privileges that others do not have: "the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises" as well as "the patriarchs" and the fact that, "from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah" (Rom 9:4 ff). The pagans, on the other hand, not only do not fulfil the law, they do not even know it. But loosely quoting Psalm 143 (v.2) he adds that "no flesh" is immune from sin and that "no one will be justified" by the works of the law. Justification, whether for the Jews or for the pagans, comes "by faith" in Jesus Christ. Paul responds to the objection that "Christ [would seem to be] a servant of sin." This objection is analogous to the one raised by the scribes and Pharisees when they saw Jesus "eat with sinners and tax-collectors." Jesus’ response was clear: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners" (Mk 2:16 ff.). It is not our actions that save us and not even any presumed coherence, which in any case is impossible for us sinners. What saves is adhering to the Gospel with all our heart and trusting ourselves entirely to the mercy of the Lord, who freely forgives and justifies. Paul asks every believer to "crucify" his or her own old self, that is, his or her own pride and self-sufficiency, in order to live according to the Gospel and depend totally on God, against whom we can make no claims, for everything is grace. What believers have to do is commit themselves to putting the Gospel in practice and having the "same feelings that are in Jesus Christ" so that, with Paul, they can say, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." The apostle notes that Christ did not die in vain. If justification were possible through the law, Christ’s death would not have been necessary and he would have died in vain.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord