Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe Puglisi, priest of the Church of Palermo, who was killed by mafia.

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, 12-18

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.

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.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle has declared that believers are "dead to sin" because they have been reached by baptism, the moment of grace, which allows them to partake in the Passover of Christ. Now he makes it clear that this moment of grace does not act magically on believers, but unleashes a dynamic and responsible vitality. Even though they are "dead to sin", believers must still work every day to keep from being dominated by it. Christians are given the energy and the strength needed to stand up to sin and the perverse logic with which it tries to dominate the human heart. The apostle then urges his readers to choose between obedience to the instinct of the old self and obedience to the new self, guided by the Spirit. If the first is an instinctive obedience, and therefore a kind of slavery, the second instead requires a choice and constant vigilance. The life of a believer is always a struggle between these two forces: the same struggle that Jesus experienced as he fought against evil until he defeated it. Through his death and resurrection Jesus has deprived sin of its unstoppable force. Evil has been defeated for ever. However, it is still waiting in ambush, as is written in the book of Genesis: "And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door" (4:6). By choosing to obey the Spirit, the believer’s life becomes a joyful and generous offering to the Lord and to his or her brothers and sisters. Jesus lived his earthly existence as a total 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 this same road. It is the only way to be free from the dominion of sin, which seeks to submit us to its wishes in everything. But God, who knows our weakness, makes his grace abound for us.