Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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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 6, 15-23

What is the implication? That we are free to sin, now that we are not under law but under grace? Out of the question!

You know well that if you undertake to be somebody's slave and obey him, you are the slave of him you obey: you can be the slave either of sin which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to saving justice.

Once you were slaves of sin, but thank God you have given whole-hearted obedience to the pattern of teaching to which you were introduced;

and so, being freed from serving sin, you took uprightness as your master.

I am putting it in human terms because you are still weak human beings: as once you surrendered yourselves as servants to immorality and to a lawlessness which results in more lawlessness, now you have to surrender yourselves to uprightness which is to result in sanctification.

When you were the servants of sin, you felt no obligation to uprightness,

and what did you gain from living like that? Experiences of which you are now ashamed, for that sort of behaviour ends in death.

But, now you are set free from sin and bound to the service of God, your gain will be sanctification and the end will be eternal life.

For the wage paid by sin is death; the gift freely given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle fruitfully compares two liberties: one that comes from an existence that puts the self at the centre and another that instead follows the Lord. Liberty without God and without brothers and sisters only brings bitter and disordered fruits, because it makes us slaves of our traditions and pride and subjects us to the domination of sin and evil. Indeed, salvation does not come from us or our deeds. On the contrary, the liberty that is born from the Gospel prepares us to serve God and our brothers and sisters. It is born when we accept the love that God pours out in our hearts, which has the power to save and justify. In fact, it makes our lives more joyous. At the end of his speech to the elders of Ephesus, Paul himself retells a saying of Jesus’, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Without any fear of exaggeration, the apostle can say that we are “slaves” of God and of his righteousness. But it is a beneficial slavery that brings forth fruits of peace, fullness, and eternal life for us and for the world. This is why Paul daringly says, “Having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Sin leaves no room for divine mercy, but when we accept the righteousness that saves, there is plenty of room for holiness. The one who has chosen the life of the risen Lord is never ashamed.