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

2 Corinthians 3, 4-11

Such is the confidence we have through Christ in facing God;

it is not that we are so competent that we can claim any credit for ourselves; all our competence comes from God.

He has given us the competence to be ministers of a new covenant, a covenant which is not of written letters, but of the Spirit; for the written letters kill, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the administering of death, engraved in letters on stone, occurred in such glory that the Israelites could not look Moses steadily in the face, because of its glory, transitory though this glory was,

how much more will the ministry of the Spirit occur in glory!

For if it is glorious to administer condemnation, to administer saving justice is far richer in glory.

Indeed, what was once considered glorious has lost all claim to glory, by contrast with the glory which transcends it.

For if what was transitory had any glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts for ever.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Never as in this letter is Paul constrained to speak about himself. Not to promote himself, but to hold the community of Corinth tied to the Gospel. He adds that, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all” (v. 2). We may say that the life of the community itself is the clearer and stronger announcement of the Gospel. Rooted here is as Gregory the Great has said, “Scripture grows with those who read it.” The “real” Scripture, “the letter of Christ” is the living community. In it appears the power of the Word engraved by the Spirit in the hearts of listeners through the preaching of the apostle. The link between the preaching and the heart of the listener is given not by the ability of the preacher of the gospel but from the Spirit who is present in the heart. Paul has already written in his First Letter to the community: “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God]” (1Cor 2:3-5). In the words of the apostle emerges the passionate love with which he has communicated the Word of God so that it may arrive in the hearts [of the hearers]. For this he has toiled and has spent years of his life. He claims paternity of the community in order that it may not be distracted from its foundation in the Gospel. The passage ends with a rereading of the revelation made by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. Paul compares the revelation of the law, which was written on tablets of stone, with the revelation of the Gospel. But this latter revelation, which comes from the Spirit, is much more profound than the first, because it is not carved on tablets of stone, but into hearts. He adds, “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (v. 6). And the spirit of Jesus takes away each veil of ritual religiosity to show that the eternal essence of the Gospel is love.