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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the historic Meeting in Assisi (1986), when John Paul II invited representatives of all Christian confessions and the great world religions to pray for peace.

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 13, 31-35

Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.'

He replied, 'You may go and give that fox this message: Look! Today and tomorrow I drive out devils and heal, and on the third day I attain my end.

But for today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.

'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!

Look! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you are saying: Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While Jesus is going towards Jerusalem some Pharisees warn him that the king is looking to kill him. This is not the same Herod of Jesus’ infancy, but he is from the same family. One could say that the opposition to the Gospel is a tradition that continues without end. Humanity’s evil power is always afraid of the strength of the Gospel, whether it is in the weakness of a child or of the preaching of a Word that does not cease speaking everywhere proclaiming clearly the primacy of love. This preaching is opposed by the Herod of turn. Jesus could flee and avoid the danger of being caught and killed, as it happened to the Baptist. And it is likely that Jesus himself had already perceived that it was increasingly dangerous to continue the journey towards Jerusalem. Even the Pharisees had understood this when they warned Jesus. But Jesus does not back down. He cannot betray the Gospel--he cannot stop his preaching. He knows in any event that the Gospel is stronger than the power of Herod. Rather it is necessary that the Good News of the kingdom be preached throughout the streets of Galilee and Judea even within the walls of Jerusalem. This is why Jesus does not flee from Herod; he does not stop before dangers and replies to the Pharisees: "Because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem." And immediately there follows the sad lamentation over the holy city who has gotten so far from God that it no longer can receive the word of the prophets. But this deafness will lead it to destruction: "How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" These are grief-stricken words of the Lord that we should perhaps repeat even today over many of our cities, evermore wounded by violence. Only by accepting God’s prophecy, only if words of love have citizenship in human hearts, will our cities and our countries find the way to living together in a more peaceful and serene way.

Memory of the Church