Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Galatians 3,1-5

You stupid people in Galatia! After you have had a clear picture of Jesus Christ crucified, right in front of your eyes, who has put a spell on you? There is only one thing I should like you to tell me: How was it that you received the Spirit -- was it by the practice of the Law, or by believing in the message you heard? Having begun in the Spirit, can you be so stupid as to end in the flesh? Can all the favours you have received have had no effect at all -- if there really has been no effect? Would you say, then, that he who so lavishly sends the Spirit to you, and causes the miracles among you, is doing this through your practice of the Law or because you believed the message you heard?

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Those who look at the Crucifix are preserved from foolishness because they understand the distance that separates them from such an extraordinary love as that of Jesus, a love so boundless that it urges him to die for us. In front of the mystery of this death, how can we think - the apostle suggests - that our works save us? It is as though we could compare our always petty deeds, with Jesus' love for men and women and for the salvation of the peoples. Who among us has loved to the point of dying on the cross? Paul warns that if we forget the preaching of Jesus Christ crucified, pride, and with it blindness, will prevail: we will see our works more than God's overflowing love for all. The proclamation of the Gospel has made the deeds of Christians possible. This is why the apostle asks: "Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?" The Holy Spirit poured into the hearts of the believers allows those who let him free to act, to perform us "miracles." Jesus himself told his disciples just before leaving them: "The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these" (Jn 14:12). It is a lesson we should welcome even today. In a time like ours, which is waiting for a renewed proclamation of the Gospel, it is decisive that believers allow the Spirit to do "great things" so that people may understand the "greatness" pf god's love who gave His Son for our salvation. While he was led to Rome to receive martyrdom, St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Romans: "Christianity is not a matter of persuasion, but of greatness."