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The Everyday Prayer

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

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

Luke 12, 49-53

'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!

There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!

'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three;

father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While urging his disciples to be vigilant, Jesus also tells them that the moment of decision has come. With Jesus the last times have come, and there can be no further delay in choosing the Gospel. To help the disciples understand his apostolic concern, Jesus uses the image of the fire that he himself came to bring into the world: "I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already aflame!" Jesus wants the disciples to abandon everything that comes from being lazy, slow, cold, closed, so that they can make his concern and anguish their own. Jesus will be uneasy until the flames of love flare up in the heart of every man and every woman. Therefore the disciple is not called to a greedy and tranquil life oriented toward personal or even communal well-being, but rather needs to immerse him or herself in the Gospel as if to be baptized, that is, immersed, in it, impelled by the urgency of communicating it to everyone. Commitment to the Gospel involves the whole life of the disciple, in a certain way he or she is possessed by it. This is why following the Gospel demands distancing oneself from one’s old life and from the old ties it was based on, even familial ones. Blood ties -obviously important—are nevertheless not salvation. Only the Gospel is the fire that saves and changes the world, and it starts with each individual heart. Paul will say that "Christ is our peace" (Eph 2:14), and the Lord himself said: "Blessed are the peacemakers." There is no contradiction here between peace and the sword. The peace which Jesus brings is not like the one the world gives (Jn 14:27), it is not a greedy tranquillity or security in one’s own habits. In order to enjoy the peace that comes from the Gospel, purification by fire is necessary, a separation of good and evil, discernment between the light that Jesus comes to bring to the world and the darkness of evil. In short, peace is a gift and something acquired, it is receiving the Gospel and severing ties with one’s own selfishness.

Memory of the Church