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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 8, 31-42

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples;

you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

They answered, 'We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, "You will be set free?" '

Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave.

Now a slave has no permanent standing in the household, but a son belongs to it for ever.

So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.

I know that you are descended from Abraham; but you want to kill me because my word finds no place in you.

What I speak of is what I have seen at my Father's side, and you too put into action the lessons you have learnt from your father.

They repeated, 'Our father is Abraham.' Jesus said to them: If you are Abraham's children, do as Abraham did.

As it is, you want to kill me, a man who has told you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did.

You are doing your father's work. They replied, 'We were not born illegitimate, the only father we have is God.'

Jesus answered: If God were your father, you would love me, since I have my origin in God and have come from him; I did not come of my own accord, but he sent me.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This Gospel passage should be understood in the context of the tension that arose between the first Christian community and Judaism. The first Christians were put to the test by the hostility of those who claim to keep the Mosaic law. The evangelist John reminds his disciples to "continue" in Jesus’ word - not just to listen to the word, but to continue dwelling in it as in one’s own home. The word received and heard with faithfulness is the true dwelling where Christians live: their life is all wrapped up in the Gospel. Christian liberty means nothing else than following the Gospel. It is the light yoke that delivers us from the heavy chains of love only for ourselves. Freedom, in fact, does not come from the law or from the strength of our will, much less from belonging to something, even to the "descendants of Abraham." It only comes from adhering to Jesus with one’s entire life. When Jesus preached this, the Jews rebelled against him because in this way he called them slaves. In fact, there is a kind of presumption proper to slaves, which is precisely that of denying that they are slaves, because sometimes being a slave is comfortable; it offers a shelter from responsibility and from the effort of constantly having to figure out which direction to walk in. "The truth will make you free," Jesus says. Seeing ourselves as the Gospel shows us to be - that is, poor, weak, and limited - allows us to encounter the Lord as a good and strong Father who frees us from evil. It is not enough to say, "Abraham’s children" to truly be one. The true filiality that makes us part of God’s family and God’s friends comes from "doing the work of the Father," Jesus says. In fact, it is not those who say, "Lord, Lord" who will enter into the kingdom of the Father, but those who make his word the foundation of their lives.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets