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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 13, 22-30

Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem.

Someone said to him, 'Sir, will there be only a few saved?' He said to them,

'Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

'Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from."

Then you will start saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets,"

but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from; away from me, all evil doers!"

'Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrown out.

And people from east and west, from north and south, will come and sit down at the feast in the kingdom of God.

'Look, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage begins by highlighting Jesus who teaches while he completes his journey towards Jerusalem. Jesus does not walk among people indifferent to those he encounters, perhaps in order to concentrate only on himself or his own personal problems. His destination is Jerusalem, but he is not going there only for his own sake. He goes to die in the holy city because he wants all to be saved. It is not he in fact who needs salvation, but human beings. In such a context, the question about the number of those who will be saved someone puts to Jesus takes a specific shape. The questioner conveys the concern had at that time concerning the number of those saved given that among the rabbis some excluded from salvation those who did not observe certain prescriptions. In such a way doubt was created as to whether the entire people of Israel would be saved. In a Jewish apocryphal work, for example, one reads: "The Most High has made this age for many; on the other hand, the future age is for a few" (Fourth Book of Ezra). Jesus, on the other hand, affirms that one does not enter the kingdom of God simply by belonging to the people of Israel, or to a nation, or even to an ethnic group or culture, and so on. It is faith that saves, that is, accepting Jesus as one’s own saviour. Therefore the choice of the disciple who is called to follow the Master is decisive. Jesus does not respond directly to the query regarding the number of the saved. He merely says that the moment to decide has arrived, that is, the time of judgment. And in that day it is of no use to lay claims to rights that stem from belonging to a people or from having participated in religious rites. Rather -Jesus adds—"Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God." What counts is to choose quickly to follow the Lord, before it is too late. This is the meaning of the image of the narrow door. It’s as if to say that, in the face of the preaching of the Gospel, we cannot postpone hearing it. If the Gospel that is preached is rejected, it is like arriving at the house of which the Gospel passage speaks when the householder has already closed the door. Yes, we should be attentive and vigilant each time the Gospel is proclaimed. Our salvation depends on that Word. Whoever remains outside of the Gospel, in fact, remains at the mercy of the prince of evil and will feel the bite of the cold of sadness and the bitterness of loneliness. The "last"—who in the text refers to the pagans—are meant to highlight also that the "primacy" regards the hearing, that is, those who accept the Gospel in their heart and put it into practice.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets