Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memory of the Virgin Mary, venerated as Our Lady of LuAnn in Argentina.

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 4, 21-31

Tell me then, you are so eager to be subject to the Law, have you listened to what the Law says?

Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave girl and one by the freewoman.

The son of the slave girl came to be born in the way of human nature; but the son of the freewoman came to be born through a promise.

There is an allegory here: these women stand for the two covenants. The one given on Mount Sinai -- that is Hagar, whose children are born into slavery;

now Sinai is a mountain in Arabia and represents Jerusalem in its present state, for she is in slavery together with her children.

But the Jerusalem above is free, and that is the one that is our mother;

as scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren woman who has borne no children! Break into shouts of joy, you who were never in labour. For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number than the sons of the wedded wife.

Now you, brothers, are like Isaac, children of the promise;

just as at that time, the child born in the way of human nature persecuted the child born through the Spirit, so now.

But what is it that scripture says? Drive away that slave girl and her son; the slave girl's son is not to share the inheritance with the son of the freewoman.

So, brothers, we are the children not of the slave girl but of the freewoman.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To keep the Galatians from falling back into the slavery of the law, Paul returns to the account of the Book of Genesis and narrates the episode of the "two sons of Abraham": Ishmael, the son of the slave Hagar, the concubine, and Isaac, the son of the free Sarah, the legitimate wife and mistress of the house. The difference between Ishmael and Isaac is not only that they have two different mothers. They were also conceived in two different ways: Ishmael by natural generation and Isaac by "the promise." Paul declares that all of this happened as an "allegory" of what would really happen in the future. Hagar, the slave, represents the covenant of Sinai that "bears children for slavery," the slavery of the law (Paul makes a reference to Arabia). Sarah instead represents the free woman and she is "our mother" whose seat is in the "Jerusalem above." It is from this second Jerusalem that Christians receive liberty. Being children of the free woman, we are therefore called to live in freedom from the law. This, Paul writes, is what Isaiah, the prophet of the exile, sang: the barren woman sings with joy because she has been granted numberless children. Through God’s intervention, Sarah, barren and despised, was made the mother of a great people. Paul reminds the Galatians that, like Isaac, they are "children of the promise" and that therefore they should not cry over their condition of slavery. And unfortunately, what happened between Ishmael and Isaac can repeat itself: the children of the terrestrial Jerusalem can persecute the children of the "Jerusalem above." But this demonstrates that the free children are the heirs of the promise, notwithstanding the present difficulties. Christians need to keep this exhortation in their hearts, knowing that the difficulties of the present - even those of today - should not take our eyes from the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are moving.