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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Romans 4, 1-25

Then what do we say about Abraham, the ancestor from whom we are descended physically?

If Abraham had been justified because of what he had done, then he would have had something to boast about. But not before God:

does not scripture say: Abraham put his faith in God and this was reckoned to him as uprightness?

Now, when someone works, the wages for this are not considered as a favour but as due;

however, when someone, without working, puts faith in the one who justifies the godless, it is this faith that is reckoned as uprightness.

David, too, says the same: he calls someone blessed if God attributes uprightness to that person, apart from any action undertaken:

How blessed are those whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is blotted out.

How blessed are those to whom the Lord imputes no guilt.

Is this blessing only for the circumcised, or is it said of the uncircumcised as well? Well, we said of Abraham that his faith was reckoned to him as uprightness.

Now how did this come about? When he was already circumcised, or before he had been circumcised? Not when he had been circumcised, but while he was still uncircumcised;

and circumcision was given to him later, as a sign and a guarantee that the faith which he had while still uncircumcised was reckoned to him as uprightness. In this way, Abraham was to be the ancestor of all believers who are uncircumcised, so that they might be reckoned as upright;

as well as the ancestor of those of the circumcision who not only have their circumcision but who also follow our ancestor Abraham along the path of faith that he trod before he was circumcised.

For the promise to Abraham and his descendants that he should inherit the world was not through the Law, but through the uprightness of faith.

For if it is those who live by the Law who will gain the inheritance, faith is worthless and the promise is without force;

for the Law produces nothing but God's retribution, and it is only where there is no Law that it is possible to live without breaking the Law.

That is why the promise is to faith, so that it comes as a free gift and is secure for all the descendants, not only those who rely on the Law but all those others who rely on the faith of Abraham, the ancestor of us all

(as scripture says: I have made you the father of many nations). Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into existence what does not yet exist.

Though there seemed no hope, he hoped and believed that he was to become father of many nations in fulfilment of the promise: Just so will your descendants be.

Even the thought that his body was as good as dead -- he was about a hundred years old -- and that Sarah's womb was dead too did not shake his faith.

Counting on the promise of God, he did not doubt or disbelieve, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God,

fully convinced that whatever God promised he has the power to perform.

This is the faith that was reckoned to him as uprightness.

And the word 'reckoned' in scripture applies not only to him;

it is there for our sake too -- our faith, too, will be 'reckoned'

because we believe in him who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul affirms that since the beginning salvation comes from God, but is by grace that we are saved, just as we read in the Book of Genesis about Abraham: “And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6). This is why Paul can say that God’s saving justice “comes through faith.” And, Abraham’s life is a testimony of the strength that springs forth from faith. He was justified not because of his works, but because of his faith. For this he was called righteous: God made him as such because of his faith and saved him. Therefore, Abraham becomes the exemplary believer precisely because he believed in the Word of God. In this sense, Abraham “is father of all of us,” of all who believe in God who made all of creation and manifested himself as the one, unique God. Hence, Jews, Christians and Muslims are children of Abraham, the believer. Because of faith, this holy patriarch knew a different destiny: entrusting himself to the One who called him, he was liberated from the slavery of himself, from his works and vainglory. Not for clarity of vision or certainty of one’s convictions, but because of faith, Abraham left his homeland and walked toward a destiny he did not know. Because of his absolute and total faith in God, he even carried his son, his only son Isaac, up the mountain to offer him up as a sacrifice, which God then returned to Abraham. On this path opened by Abraham, our father in faith, Paul indicates the path for those who welcome Jesus as the Lord of their life.

Memory of the Church