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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 8, 51-59

In all truth I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.

The Jews said, 'Now we know that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, "Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death."

Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?'

Jesus answered: If I were to seek my own glory my glory would be worth nothing; in fact, my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, 'He is our God,'

although you do not know him. But I know him, and if I were to say, 'I do not know him,' I should be a liar, as you yourselves are. But I do know him, and I keep his word.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.

The Jews then said, 'You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!'

Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, before Abraham ever was, I am.

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

"Whoever keeps my word will never see death." The sentence that opens today’s Gospel passage immerses us directly in the liberating spring of the Word of God and helps us understand what God’s will is for each one of us. And yet, in front of such troubling words, often we, like the Jews of the time, raise more than a few obstacles. It is quite peculiar that while the Lord wants to give us the fullness of life, that is, a life that does not end with death, he encounters resistance and opposition from us. We often prefer living a life subjected to the hard law, that is a life slave to self-love, rather than upsetting the tranquil normalcy of our lives. Indeed many look with wariness and hostility at the generous offer the Lord makes each one of us, the offer of a different life, a more human and more meaningful life. But, for our part, there is a refusal of this love that is so immense. We are also willing to accept a Gospel, as long as it is less demanding and does not disturb us too much. How often do we also say to the Gospel: "Are you greater than Abraham. Behind this interrogative is hidden an attempt to flatten the Gospel, to empty it of its force, to lower it to the level of normality. To take the prophecy out of the Gospel, to remove its otherness from the world, is as if to kill it. Truthfully, to choose the Gospel demands abandoning a way of living that is bent in on itself and accepting to follow Jesus who did not come to be served, but to serve. If instead we resign ourselves to our egoism’s hardness, we will easily become similar to those bystanders who began to pick up stones to throw at Jesus. And what are stones if not our feelings and our behaviours that we hurl to offend and and destroy each other? The Lord wants his disciples to show mercy and forgiveness.

Memory of the Church