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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

James 5, 7-11

Now be patient, brothers, until the Lord's coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains!

You too must be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord's coming will be soon.

Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates.

For your example, brothers, in patiently putting up with persecution, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name;

remember it is those who had perseverance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and understood the Lord's purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

James is well aware of the fact that Christians need to prepare themselves to welcome the coming Lord and that they need to do it carefully. No one knows when or how the Lord is going to come. Two things are certain: the time of his coming is near, and it will be a decisive time for the salvation of every man and woman. Endurance and patience do not mean hopelessness, lost time and powerlessness. Rather they are the true strength of Christians, of those who face the world trusting a power that is greater than our small world and that fulfils our hope. James compares our impatience at the Lord's delay to the impatience that arises in the heart of a farmer when he fails to see the fruits of his labour. The disciples of Jesus should not let themselves be caught in their thoughts, and should patiently wait for the coming of the Lord by praying, working, serving the poor, and listening to the Word of the Lord every day, "until [they] receive the early and the late rain." Impatience, which ultimately comes from our search for personal satisfaction, causes grumbling and bickering in the community of disciples. When we are impatient we easily blame others or complain as if others were guilty of lacking fruit. But the disciples are patient because they put their trust in the Lord, even in the difficult moments of life. James invites his readers to look to the long line of prophets that have given witness to the love of God among men and women. He explicitly cites Job, who was tested severely but who, by putting all of his trust in God, not only had the grace of encountering God but also was rewarded with double of what he had lost (Job 42:11ff.). The Lord gives recompense both in the present and in the future life, as Jesus himself said to Peter when he asked him what would happen to him and the others who had left everything. They would receive a hundredfold in this life, together with persecutions and eternal life in the future. The believers know that this is possible because, "The Lord is compassionate and merciful."

Memory of the Church