Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Today the Byzantine Church venerates Saint Sabbas (†532), “the Archimandrite of all the hermits of Palestine.”

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 1, 16-17

For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; it is God's power for the salvation of everyone who has faith -- Jews first, but Greeks as well-

for in it is revealed the saving justice of God: a justice based on faith and addressed to faith. As it says in scripture: Anyone who is upright through faith will live.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul just spoke about his desire to preach the Gospel in Rome. His desire is not the result of some presumption or obsession on his part. The apostle knows that the Gospel is a treasure that was given to him and that he should communicate to others, especially to the pagans. And he is not ashamed of it because the Gospel contains the “power of God”, that is, a force capable of actuating “salvation to everyone who has faith.” Hence, the righteousness of God is understood as a righteousness that saves, not condemns. And faith is, above all else, not adherence to a particular doctrine, but full and total adherence to Jesus, who transforms the heart and pushes it to live according to the newness of the Gospel. And everyone, first the Jews and then also the Greeks, are called to welcome the Lord. The eagerness to communicate this Gospel of Jesus “devours” the apostle Paul. This eagerness, in truth, ought to devour the disciples of every generation. And we can say that at the beginning of this new millennium a renewed and impassioned preaching of the Gospel is urgent. To underline this urgency of faith, the apostle cites a passage from the prophet Habakkuk: “Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). Whoever does not have an upright soul is impious, someone who distanced himself from God. The righteous, instead, are those who continue to remain faithful to God and to entrust themselves to Him. This is why true life comes only from faith, from abandoning oneself to God. There are many ways people today seek to give meaning to their life. Often they follow paths that reveal themselves to be uncertain and misleading. The way to obtain a full life is by following the path illuminated by faith and by the fear of God. It is the way of Jesus: whoever follows the Gospel conquers sin and death and becomes participants in His resurrection. The Gospel, therefore, is a force that changes; it is an energy that transforms. And Paul is a direct testimony of this: his very life was transformed and put in service to the Lord. Since the beginning, the apostle wants to underline this theme that develops through the course of his entire letter.