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 1, 1-7

From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle,

set apart for the service of the gospel that God promised long ago through his prophets in the holy scriptures.

This is the gospel concerning his Son who, in terms of human nature

was born a descendant of David and who, in terms of the Spirit and of holiness, was designated Son of God in power by resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ, our Lord,

through whom we have received grace and our apostolic mission of winning the obedience of faith among all the nations for the honour of his name.

You are among these, and by his call you belong to Jesus Christ.

To you all, God's beloved in Rome, called to be his holy people. Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Letter to the Romans, which we are starting to read, occupies the first place in the Pauline writings both in terms of length and the importance of its theme. Paul addresses the community of Rome - which he had not founded but whose faith had been "proclaimed throughout the world" (Rom 1:8) - to explain the meaning of salvation, that is the "righteousness" that saves, which God bestowed on humanity through Jesus Christ, fulfilling the promise made to Abraham. In the greeting, Paul presents himself as a "servant" of Jesus; in fact he belongs to him completely. And it is for this reason that he was "set apart" as an "apostle," that is, with a particular mission and responsibility given to him by the Lord himself in order to build up the Church. The mission is to communicate the Gospel that had been "promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures," whose culmination is the Gospel of Jesus, "declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead." The Lord himself called Paul to communicate this Gospel to the great world of the "gentiles," to which also "all God’s beloved in Rome" belong. The apostle knows that the community in Rome is composed in large part by Christians from a pagan background and that they are "holy" precisely because they received and welcomed the Gospel. He then wishes everyone grace and peace, the gifts with which God enriches and protects the lives of His children. It is the grace of a life redeemed from death and enriched by brothers and sisters to love. It is the peace of an existence that finds its fulfilment in following Jesus. Following the example of the apostle, every believer is "a servant of Jesus Christ," and "called to be an apostle."