Memory of the Poor

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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 10, 1-21

Brothers, my dearest wish and my prayer to God is for them, that they may be saved.

I readily testify to their fervour for God, but it is misguided.

Not recognising God's saving justice they have tried to establish their own, instead of submitting to the saving justice of God.

But the Law has found its fulfilment in Christ so that all who have faith will be justified.

Moses writes of the saving justice that comes by the Law and says that whoever complies with it will find life in it.

But the saving justice of faith says this: Do not think in your heart, 'Who will go up to heaven?' --

that is to bring Christ down; or 'Who will go down to the depths?' -- that is to bring Christ back from the dead.

What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith, the faith which we preach,

that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.

It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved.

When scripture says: No one who relies on this will be brought to disgrace,

it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: the same Lord is the Lord of all, and his generosity is offered to all who appeal to him,

for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

How then are they to call on him if they have not come to believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him? And how will they hear of him unless there is a preacher for them?

And how will there be preachers if they are not sent? As scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news.

But in fact they have not all responded to the good news. As Isaiah says: Lord, who has given credence to what they have heard from us?

But it is in that way faith comes, from hearing, and that means hearing the word of Christ.

Well then, I say, is it possible that they have not heard? Indeed they have: in the entire earth their voice stands out, their message reaches the whole world.

Well, another question, then: is it possible that Israel did not understand? In the first place Moses said: I shall rouse you to jealousy with a non-people, I shall exasperate you with a stupid nation.

And Isaiah is even bold enough to say: I have let myself be found by those who did not seek me; I have let myself be seen by those who did not consult me;

and referring to Israel, he says: All day long I have been stretching out my hands to a disobedient and rebellious people.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle wonders how Israel itself, the people whom God had chosen for himself and who consequently should have been the first to obtain salvation, had in fact not obtained it. According to the apostle, the response lies in the fact that Israel did not understand that salvation is obtained through faith in the Lord Jesus and not the works of the law. This is already clear in the Scriptures themselves. The salvation the Lord gives to his children must be welcomed and made to grow, but it fails when the believer only trusts in his or her own works. That is to say, when we concentrate on ourselves, our actions, and our own convictions – even if they are full of religious practices and rituals – our actions hide our pride, the belief that we posses salvation not as a gift of God but as the fruit of our own effort. This is exactly what had happened to Israel, the people with whom God had chosen for himself but who had made the observation of the law the foundation of their religion and had not recognized the revelation of the Christ. Faced with this risk, the apostle reminds us that the first duty of the believer is to listen to and proclaim the Gospel. He summarizes in a few questions the very mission of the Church in the world: “And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?” In front of the urgency of the Gospel, the apostle is not afraid to emphasize the direct relationship between preaching and faith. This is something that even today believers are called to rediscover: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Commitment to the Gospel and to its communication is also the challenge for our generation. In this passage, the apostle reminds us of the primacy of the Word of God in the life of the Church: it is the way, the only way, to let people know and love the Lord. The Word of the Gospel is revealed in the world so that everyone might know salvation, the present salvation that will reach its fulfilment the day when God will be all in all.