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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Nil, Russian staretz (+ 1508). He was the father of monks to whom he taught the Lord’s great love for humanity, exhorting them to ask God for His own feelings (macrotimia in Greek). Memory of the prayer for the new martyrs presided over by John Paul II at the Coliseum in Rome with the representatives of Christian churches.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 15,12-17

This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.

No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.

My command to you is to love one another.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Even though he has already spoken to the disciples about the new commandment, Jesus now returns to it amidst the solemnity of his farewell speech: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." He does not simply say "love one another," he also notes the dimension that this reciprocal love must obtain: "As I have loved you." Indeed, we could already have deduced the nature of evangelical love from the allegory of the vine: the sap with which the vine nourishes the branches is none other than Jesus’ own love. Consequently, the disciples’ love is not just any love; it does not come from them or from their traditions, personality, or upbringing. Evangelical love is a gift that comes from Jesus himself. It is agape, that is, the love of God that is poured into our hearts. It is a totally gratuitous love that forgets itself and will even give its life for others. This is how Jesus loved. Christian love transforms the relationship between the Teacher and the disciple, between the Creator and the creature. The hierarchical distance that should be there is eliminated to make space for a new relationship, a relationship of gratuitous love. Jesus explained this fact with these words: "I do not call you servants any longer...but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father." We could say that the substance of the bond between Jesus and his disciples is friendship. God already called Abraham his "friend" and not his servant because God did keep anything hidden from him. Likewise, Jesus does not have servants, only friends. The word "friend" is not a worn-out expression for Jesus. For him, the word makes demands of his very life. He feels friendship for all, even Judas, who is about to betray him. And if we absolutely have to name a preference, it is for the weakest and the poorest, sinners and the excluded. For Jesus no man or woman is an enemy; there is not a trace of the culture of the enemy in the Gospel. If anything, there is an incredible witness of love. Jesus’ disciples know that this is the treasure that they have to live out and communicate.

Memory of Jesus crucified