Reading I


A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians (Gal. 5:18-25)


Brothers and sisters:

If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious:

immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,

sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,

outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,

dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,

drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.

I warn you, as I warned you before,

that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,

patience, kindness, generosity,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Against such there is no law.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh

with its passions and desires.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.



Responsorial Psalm (Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6)


R. (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Blessed the man who follows not

the counsel of the wicked

Nor walks in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the company of the insolent,

But delights in the law of the LORD

and meditates on his law   day and night.


R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

He is like a tree

planted near running water,

That yields its fruit in due season,

and whose leaves never fade.

Whatever he does, prospers.


R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Not so the wicked, not so;

they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

For the LORD watches over the way of the just,

but the way of the wicked vanishes.


R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.



Alleluia (Jn 10:27)


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;

I know them, and they follow me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.





From the Gospel according to Luke

(Lk 11:42-46)


The Lord said:

“Woe to you Pharisees!

You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,

but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.

These you should have done, without overlooking the others.

Woe to you Pharisees!

You love the seat of honour in synagogues

and greetings in marketplaces.

Woe to you!

You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”


Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,

“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”

And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!

You impose on people burdens hard to carry,

but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”




The Apostle presents two opposing fronts: on the one side, the “works of the flesh”, and on the other, the “fruit of the Spirit”. What are the works of the flesh? They are behaviours that are contrary to the Spirit of God. The Apostle calls them works of the flesh not because there is something wrong or bad about our human bodies. Indeed, we have seen how much he insisted on the reality of the human flesh that Christ brought to the cross! Flesh is a word that indicates the person’s earthly dimension, closed in on itself in a horizontal existence, where worldly instincts are followed and the door to the Spirit, who lifts us up and opens us up to God and others, is closed. But the flesh also reminds us that everything ages, that all things pass, wither, while the Spirit gives life. Thus, Paul lists the works of the flesh which refer to the selfish use of sexuality, to magical practices connected with idolatry and to all that undermines interpersonal relationships such as “enmity, jealousy, dissension, divisions, factions, envy…” (cf. Gal 5:19-21). All of this is the fruit — let’s say — of the flesh, of behaviour that is solely human, “sickly” human. Because humans have their values, but all this is “sickly” human.


The fruit of the Spirit, instead, is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23), as Paul says. Christians, who in baptism have “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27), are called to live as such. (General Audience, 27 October 2021)