Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Feast of the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Guatemala, venerated throughout all of Central America.

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

Romans 6, 12-14

That is why you must not allow sin to reign over your mortal bodies and make you obey their desires;

or give any parts of your bodies over to sin to be used as instruments of evil. Instead, give yourselves to God, as people brought to life from the dead, and give every part of your bodies to God to be instruments of uprightness;

and then sin will no longer have any power over you -- you are living not under law, but under grace.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul affirms that sin no longer has complete dominion over the lives of the disciples. They are given sufficient strength and energy to oppose it. Thus the apostle urges his readers to choose between the slavery of earthly desires - which characterize the old self - and obedience to God and the Spirit - the characteristic of the new self that is born from a union with Jesus. Those who subject themselves to sin become its slaves. Those who instead choose to offer themselves to God obtain salvation by vigilantly and perseveringly keeping watch over all those things that now belong to the past. The life of the believer is always a struggle between these two forces, the same struggle that Jesus experienced when he fought evil until he defeated it. With his death and resurrection, Jesus deprived sin of its unstoppable power. Evil lost its primacy, but it still waits in ambush, as is written in the book of Genesis, “And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door” (4:7). When believers choose to obey the Spirit, their lives become a generous and joyous offering to the Lord and to their brothers and sisters. Jesus himself lived out his earthly existence as a complete offering to the Father for the salvation of all men and women. We, the disciples of the last hour, are called to follow him on the same road. It is the only way to be freed from the dominion of sin, which seeks in every way possible to subject us to its will. But the Lord, who knows our weakness, makes his grace for us abound.