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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380); she worked for peace, for the unity of Christians, and for the poor.

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

John 13,16-20

'In all truth I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the one who sent him.

'Now that you know this, blessed are you if you behave accordingly.

I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: 'He who shares my table takes advantage of me.

I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He.

In all truth I tell you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage we heard brings us into the upper room during the last supper. Jesus had just finished washing his disciples’ feet. He wanted that it be a teaching that showed how far his love goes. He wanted this type of love to exist between them as the highest possible qualification for whoever wanted to be his disciple. Solemnly he tells them: "Servants* are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them." Disciples of past and present are called to behave according to this logic that Jesus showed in such a concrete, lively manner by washing the feet of the apostles. It was the most evident way to comment on the teaching of loving one another to the point of giving one’s own life. And in this responsibility of giving oneself is hidden the joy of the faithful: "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." In this, we see a Christianity that finds its joy in loving others, in spending its life for the Gospel. Not that this comes without a price and sacrifice, but communicating the Gospel gives us the greatest joy because we are participating in God’s great plan of love on this earth. Unfortunately, Jesus’ disciples don’t always live in this spirit. We, too, allow ourselves to become overpowered by an egocentric and lazy lifestyle. And in so doing, we distort the Gospel and the power of change loses its strength. Judas is a tragic example of a life gone adrift. Although he had followed Jesus closely, so much so that he had "eaten bread" from the same dish, Judas ends up selling him for a few coins. Jesus, however, knowing the weakness of his disciples, warns them of the difficulties that they will face so that they will be able to resist the snares of evil. What matters is remaining connected to Jesus. The evangelist seems to suggest the solemnity of Jesus’ epiphany: "I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he." The phrase "I am he" harkens to the voice Moses heard from the burning bush. Essentially, by listening to Jesus, we are listening to the very voice of the Father in heaven.

Memory of the Church