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The Everyday Prayer

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

Vigil of Pentecost
Memory of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), "apostle of Rome".

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we are not reborn through water and the Spirit,
we cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ephesians 5, 1-20

As God's dear children, then, take him as your pattern,

and follow Christ by loving as he loved you, giving himself up for us as an offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God.

Among you there must be not even a mention of sexual vice or impurity in any of its forms, or greed: this would scarcely become the holy people of God!

There must be no foul or salacious talk or coarse jokes -- all this is wrong for you; there should rather be thanksgiving.

For you can be quite certain that nobody who indulges in sexual immorality or impurity or greed -- which is worshipping a false god -- can inherit the kingdom of God.

Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is such behaviour that draws down God's retribution on those who rebel against him.

Make sure that you do not throw in your lot with them.

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light,

for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and uprightness and truth.

Try to discover what the Lord wants of you,

take no part in the futile works of darkness but, on the contrary, show them up for what they are.

The things which are done in secret are shameful even to speak of;

but anything shown up by the light will be illuminated

and anything illuminated is itself a light. That is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

So be very careful about the sort of lives you lead, like intelligent and not like senseless people.

Make the best of the present time, for it is a wicked age.

This is why you must not be thoughtless but must recognise what is the will of the Lord.

Do not get drunk with wine; this is simply dissipation; be filled with the Spirit.

Sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs among yourselves, singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts,

always and everywhere giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
he sent me to bring good news to the poor.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having exhorted the Ephesians to welcome and live God’s love, the apostle writes to them: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us." This is the only time that such an exhortation appears in the New Testament. However, the idea of imitating God is not new; it appears often in the Bible and translates into considering the behaviour God had with Israel as a model to follow: God’s acts are the foundation of ethics. Jesus himself adopted this perspective: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). The believer "lives in love" (v. 2) because God is love. Jesus says to the apostles, "Love one another, just as I have loved you" (Jn 13:34; 15:12). And Jesus has loved us to the point of dying for us as a "fragrant offering and sacrifice to God": his death was fully welcomed by God as a ransom for all of humankind. Paul thus uses concrete exhortations to focus on a vice that had often been denounced in Jewish, and then Christian, critiques of paganism: fornication and that derived from it, impurity and greed. Christians must keep away from all of this behaviour, says Paul. We should not even mention such behaviour because it negatively affects a Christian’s sanctity, that is our belonging to God. Obscenity, that is, undignified and ambiguous talk, must also be avoided. All of these behaviours conceal actual idolatry. The faithful must not be fooled by those who use poor judgment in their reasoning. Such people are as disobedient as those who have refused God. Disciples are "children of the light," sons and daughters of the Gospel: "Now in the Lord you are light. Live as "children of light." This is the link between the gift that we have received and the commitment derived from it. Therefore, we cannot remain in the darkness of resignation and egocentrism. "Sleeper, awake!" writes Paul, "rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you." To the Romans he says, "It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light" (Rom 13:11-12). Christians are called to let themselves be overwhelmed by the light of the Risen Lord and transform the world by overcoming the insidious temptation of yielding to the power of evil. For this reason, we must not behave thoughtlessly as do people that have lost the intelligence of the Gospel and forgotten the power of love. The warning not to get drunk is a warning not to be fooled by the fashions of the world; on the contrary, to be wise is to be filled with the Spirit that pushes us to manifest our joy with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

Prayer of the Holy Spirit