Memory of Jesus crucified

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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 7, 18-25a

And really, I know of nothing good living in me -- in my natural self, that is -- for though the will to do what is good is in me, the power to do it is not:

the good thing I want to do, I never do; the evil thing which I do not want -- that is what I do.

But every time I do what I do not want to, then it is not myself acting, but the sin that lives in me.

So I find this rule: that for me, where I want to do nothing but good, evil is close at my side.

In my inmost self I dearly love God's law,

but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?

God -- thanks be to him -- through Jesus Christ our Lord. So it is that I myself with my mind obey the law of God, but in my disordered nature I obey the law of sin.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this passage from the Letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul makes a close connection between the law, sin, and death. It is not a matter of the apostle being pessimistic. We can see the experience that he describes in the life of each one of us: "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." It seems that the "I" does not recognize its own behaviour. And yet, to become aware of this contradiction, which is found in the depths of the life of each one of us, means to understand our limits and our radical finiteness. But it is here that a prayer to the Lord to come to our aid is born. The believer’s first struggle is fought on the inside, in his or her heart and life. It is the struggle to keep the carnal self from prevailing and to help the spiritual self grow day after day. Our awareness of our own weakness pushes us to turn to God, who never denies his word and his help to those who ask for them with faith. The final question: "Who will rescue me from this body of death" (v. 24) is like an anguished prayer to the Lord. Aware of his weakness, the apostle knows that only the Lord can save him from the spiral of evil. And he answers the question with an act of faith in God. He knows that God has not abandoned him and he thanks him: "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (v. 25).