Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo (+1584), bishop of Milan.

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 13, 8-10

The only thing you should owe to anyone is love for one another, for to love the other person is to fulfil the law.

All these: You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet, and all the other commandments that there are, are summed up in this single phrase: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

Love can cause no harm to your neighbour, and so love is the fulfilment of the Law.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After a look—unusual for a letter of Paul’s—at the attitude that believers must have toward rulers (13:1-7), the apostle widens the perspective and adds a consideration of the relationship of believers toward everyone else. And such a relationship should be determined by a love that always gives freely. Indeed Christians—even on good terms with everyone, even if they fulfil everything—always have a debt, that of love toward others. And this is true for all believers. A virtuous circle of love is created in this way. We are all debtors of love toward others. It should be said that others have a right to our love, our attention, our closeness. This truth represents the radical victory over "philautia", that love for self that is at the root of every sin. After the example of Jesus who loved men and women to the point of giving his life for their salvation, even the disciple cannot distance him or herself from this attitude of the teacher. For this reason the apostle can speak of a debt of love. Christian love must be completely and freely given to all. And it is obvious a love this radical does not come from us: it is not the fruit of our work: it is a love that we can only receive from on high. By practicing this love we carry out the "living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" that Paul has just called us to. The urgency of love comes from the hour that is approaching. The apostle seems to be saying that this is the time to love. And when we look at the gravity of this new millennium, we understand how urgent it is for Christians to testify to love as the only way for the world to obtain salvation. Faced with the growth of hatred and violence, faced with the spread of terrorism and war, Christian communities need to abandon all distractions and superficiality in order to communicate to the world the primacy of love. The way to peace is to make love prevail.