Prayer for the sick

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Memory of Saint Francis Xavier, a sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary in India and Japan.

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

Romans 1, 1-7

From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle,

set apart for the service of the gospel that God promised long ago through his prophets in the holy scriptures.

This is the gospel concerning his Son who, in terms of human nature

was born a descendant of David and who, in terms of the Spirit and of holiness, was designated Son of God in power by resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ, our Lord,

through whom we have received grace and our apostolic mission of winning the obedience of faith among all the nations for the honour of his name.

You are among these, and by his call you belong to Jesus Christ.

To you all, God's beloved in Rome, called to be his holy people. Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Letter to the Romans, of which we begin our reading, is the first among the Pauline letters both for its breadth and for the importance of its theme. With this letter, the apostle addresses the community in Rome, which he did not found, but whose faith “is proclaimed throughout the world” (Rom 1:8), to explain the significance of salvation, of the “justice” that saves and which God gave to people through Jesus Christ, thus fulfilling the promise made to Abraham. In the opening greeting lines, Paul introduces himself as a “servant” of Jesus, identifying himself as one who belongs to him totally. Precisely because he is a servant, he was “chosen” as an “apostle” entrusted by the very Lord with a particular mission to fulfil for the edification of the Church. It is the task of communicating the Gospel that was “promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures” and which reaches its culmination in the “good news” of Jesus who “was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead.” The Lord called Paul to communicate this Gospel to the wide world of the “Gentiles,” including all those who were in Rome. The apostle knows that the community in Rome, although comprised of a strong minority of Jewish origin, is made up mostly of Christians who converted from paganism and is “holy” because they received and accepted the Gospel. Therefore Paul wishes all grace and peace, the gifts with which God enriches and protects the life of his children. It is the grace of a life redeemed from death and enriched with brothers and sisters to love, who participate in the sanctity of God himself. It is the peace of an existence that finds its fullness in following Jesus. Not only Paul, but every believer, following the apostle’s example, is made a “servant of Jesus Christ” and an “apostle for vocation.”