Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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The Jews celebrate Yom Kippur (Day of expiation).


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Galatians 2,1-2.7-14

It was not until fourteen years had gone by that I travelled up to Jerusalem again, with Barnabas, and I took Titus with me too. My journey was inspired by a revelation and there, in a private session with the recognised leaders, I expounded the whole gospel that I preach to the gentiles, to make quite sure that the efforts I was making and had already made should not be fruitless. On the contrary, once they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been entrusted to me, just as to Peter the gospel for the circumcised (for he who empowered Peter's apostolate to the circumcision also empowered mine to the gentiles), and when they acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, then James and Cephas and John, who were the ones recognised as pillars, offered their right hands to Barnabas and to me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked nothing more than that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do in any case. However, when Cephas came to Antioch, then I did oppose him to his face since he was manifestly in the wrong. Before certain people from James came, he used to eat with gentiles; but as soon as these came, he backed out and kept apart from them, out of fear of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews put on the same act as he did, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. When I saw, though, that their behaviour was not true to the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all of them, 'Since you, though you are a Jew, live like the gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you compel the gentiles to live like the Jews?'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul goes back to Jerusalem, after fourteen years of ministry, accompanied by Barnabas and Titus and discusses his missionary work with the "pillars" of the community. Paul knew that his apostolic commitment would be worthless outside communion with the mother Church in Jerusalem , it would be truly "running in vain." Not that Paul was doubtful of the Gospel he preached, quite the contrary, but he knew that the Church is built only in communion. In Jerusalem he freely debates with the other apostles on the value of the Law, that is of the faith of Israel of which he was a son, but that had received by the "revelation of Jesus Christ" and was not necessary for salvation. From the narration of the Acts of the Apostles, we know that also the apostle Peter was aware of it, that is circumcision was not necessary to be Jesus' disciples. Indeed, after debating in the assembly with the other apostles, Paul obtained their confirmation for his pastoral activity focused especially on the "uncircumcised." It is significant that the apostles made only one recommendation to Paul that he himself remembers: "They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do remember the poor." Love, the heart of Christian faith and therefore of salvation, finds its clearest realization in the choice for the poor. It was not merely a good action but the manifestation of the love for our neighbour that is at the very heart of the Gospel.