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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Prayer for the unity of the Churches. Particular memory of the Orthodox Churches.

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

Luke 24,44-49

Then he told them, 'This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, was destined to be fulfilled.'

He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

You are witnesses to this.

'And now I am sending upon you what the Father has promised. Stay in the city, then, until you are clothed with the power from on high.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The words we have heard are part of chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel, chosen as the theme for the prayer for Christian unity which began yesterday. This year we want to remember the centenary of the international missionary Congress held in Edinburgh, considered to be the official beginning of the modern ecumenical movement. The scandal that the divisions among Christians provokes in mission lands impelled some missionaries from the Protestant world to gather together to try to understand Jesus’ command that there be unity among all the disciples. The witness of the Gospel increasingly demands, in fact, overcoming the scandal of division. "To be witnesses of the Gospel" is the topic chosen for the prayer, and it is the heart of the mission that the risen Christ entrusts to his Church, as is evident precisely in the whole chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel. "You shall be witnesses of all this," Jesus tells the disciples before ascending to heaven. He said it Easter morning to the women at the tomb, he repeated it to the two from Emmaus and, at the end of the day, he delivered it as a primary task of their mission to the Eleven gathered together in the upper room. The Easter witness is in effect the heart of the Christian mission. In the mystery of Easter, the wounds of division smart even more bitterly. There is no doubt that the growth of passion for witnessing the Gospel of love until the extreme ends of the earth will help Christians to again find that fraternity that is born precisely from the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection. The prayer that sees Christians gathered as a single spiritual cathedral already contains, in a way, the overcoming of the distances that separate us. Yes, we await the Spirit which will reunite that which we have separated. The Holy Spirit, which the Lord has promised to his disciples, "will also clothe us too" with that love which makes us grow in unity.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord