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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Floribert Bwana Chui, a young Congolese man, who was killed by unknown people because he opposed an attempt of corruption.

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

Matthew 10, 16-23

Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves.

'Be prepared for people to hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues.

You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as evidence to them and to the gentiles.

But when you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes,

because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.

'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will come forward against their parents and have them put to death.

You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved.

If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. In truth I tell you, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus predicts persecutions to his disciples, as has already been done to him. Moreover, Gospel love, that love which is totally free and without any reciprocity, upsets the work of the prince of this world, which is a work of division, of conflict. There is no room for the one who works for peace by way of a love which asks even for love of one’s enemies. This is why Jesus says: "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves." And sheep are always weaker compared to wolves, and seem to be doomed always to lose. But this is the mystery of Jesus’ own mission, which he has thereafter entrusted to his Church and to his disciples. It is not difficult to try to mitigate this weakness. Don Andrea Santoro, killed in Turkey, used to say: "The advantage we Christians have in believing in a harmless God, in a Christ who invites us to love our enemies, to serve in order to be ‘masters’ of the house, to make ourselves the last in order to be first, in a gospel which prohibits hatred, anger, judgment, domination, in a God who becomes a lamb and lets himself be struck in order to kill in himself pride and hatred, in a God who attracts with love and does not dominate with power, is an advantage we must not lose." And he would quote Saint John Chrysostom: Christ shepherds lambs, not wolves. If we become lambs we will win. If we become wolves we will lose. Life according to the Gospel, when it is intense and vigorous, is charged with a might which destabilizes the world which, on the other hand, is intent only on seeking its own interest and remaining in sin. Even in the humility and simplicity of "doves" Christians oppose, with their words and their conduct, the selfish world and unmask it. From here arise persecutions, suffering, attempts to eliminate the true witnesses of the faith. For us who live in the third millennium, it is a question of trying to learn from the Gospel to discern when it is no longer possible to reach a compromise with a world that is intent on smothering the Word of God, silencing whoever witnesses it. In the face of certain injustices, of the scandal of the suffering of the weakest, of the elimination of life, of the wounds of a world always more divided between so many poor and the few rich, the disciples, even though they know that they will meet with opposition, cannot be silent and not announce with their life that they are children of God and not of this world. We are encouraged and consoled by Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: "But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

Memory of Jesus crucified