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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Romans 3, 1-31

Is there any benefit, then, in being a Jew? Is there any advantage in being circumcised?

A great deal, in every way. First of all, it was to the Jews that the message of God was entrusted.

What if some of them were unfaithful? Do you think their lack of faith could cancel God's faithfulness?

Out of the question! God will always be true even if no human being can be relied on. As scripture says: That you may show your saving justice when you pass sentence and your victory may appear when you give judgement.

But if our injustice serves to bring God's saving justice into view, can we say that God is unjust when -- to use human terms -- he brings his retribution down on us?

Out of the question! It would mean that God could not be the judge of the world.

You might as well say that if my untruthfulness makes God demonstrate his truthfulness, to his greater glory, then I should not be judged to be a sinner at all.

In this case, the slanderous report some people are spreading would be true, that we teach that one should do evil that good may come of it. In fact such people are justly condemned.

Well: are we any better off? Not at all: we have already indicted Jews and Greeks as being all alike under the dominion of sin.

As scripture says: Not one of them is upright, not a single one,

not a single one is wise, not a single one seeks God.

All have turned away, all alike turned sour, not one of them does right, not a single one.

Their throats are wide -- open graves, their tongues seductive. Viper's venom behind their lips;

their speech is full of cursing and bitterness.

Their feet quick to shed innocent blood,

wherever they go there is havoc and ruin.

They do not know the way of peace,

there is no fear of God before their eyes.

Now we are well aware that whatever the Law says is said for those who are subject to the Law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world brought under the judgement of God.

So then, no human being can be found upright at the tribunal of God by keeping the Law; all that the Law does is to tell us what is sinful.

God's saving justice was witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, but now it has been revealed altogether apart from law:

God's saving justice given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

No distinction is made: all have sinned and lack God's glory,

and all are justified by the free gift of his grace through being set free in Christ Jesus.

God appointed him as a sacrifice for reconciliation, through faith, by the shedding of his blood, and so showed his justness; first for the past, when sins went unpunished because he held his hand;

and now again for the present age, to show how he is just and justifies everyone who has faith in Jesus.

So what becomes of our boasts? There is no room for them. On what principle- that only actions count? No; that faith is what counts,

since, as we see it, a person is justified by faith and not by doing what the Law tells him to do.

Do you think God is the God only of the Jews, and not of gentiles too? Most certainly of gentiles too,

since there is only one God; he will justify the circumcised by their faith, and he will justify the uncircumcised through their faith.

Are we saying that the Law has been made pointless by faith? Out of the question; we are placing the Law on its true footing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Up until now Paul has affirmed that God revealed his justice, but people did not accept it. The pagans did not recognize it neither in the signs of creation nor in their conscience. Israel, who also received the law, did not use it as a way of following God with all its heart, but as an instrument to serve its self-righteousness and vainglory before the pagans. Paul affirms that Israel is not an exception among other peoples: all peoples are equal before God. Being elected by God is not a privilege to boast about. Rather, it is a choice that asks for an answer of love from the one who becomes the recipient. If Israel does not respond, they betray the covenant. God, however, notwithstanding the betrayal, does not break his covenant with Israel. The election remains solid certainly, not because of the people’s lack of faithfulness, but for God’s ceaseless love. God’s unfaltering love is one of the pillars that runs through Israel’s history that culminates with Jesus, who, because of love, gives all of his life. Paul exhorts the Christians of Rome not to disparage the law, but to pray with all their heart for a new covenant between God and all peoples through faith in Christ. This covenant is new because it is not based on the law, but on faith: “A person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.” Faith, given freely to the people of the first covenant, through Jesus is offered to all people of every language and nation. Thus Paul can affirm that the law is not destroyed. However, a new way of salvation based on faith is revealed. This way springs forth from God’s free desire and passes through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, who becomes the “sacrifice of atonement,” that is, of forgiveness and grace. God manifests his justice by saving us through the Lord, who does not hold onto his divine condition for himself. On the contrary, he makes himself small among men and women so that our poor faith—small like a mustard seed—may find the greatness of love.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets