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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the terrorist attacks in the United States. Memory of the victims of terrorism and violence and prayer for peace.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6, 43-49

'There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit.

Every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles.

Good people draw what is good from the store of goodness in their hearts; bad people draw what is bad from the store of badness. For the words of the mouth flow out of what fills the heart.

'Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord" and not do what I say?

'Everyone who comes to me and listens to my words and acts on them -- I will show you what such a person is like.

Such a person is like the man who, when he built a house, dug, and dug deep, and laid the foundations on rock; when the river was in flood it bore down on that house but could not shake it, it was so well built.

But someone who listens and does nothing is like the man who built a house on soil, with no foundations; as soon as the river bore down on it, it collapsed; and what a ruin that house became!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Through the image of the good tree which bears good fruit, Jesus wants to give a picture of how the life of the disciple and of every Christian community should be. Obviously, if the tree is bad it will only be able to produce bad fruit. It is an image which speaks for itself and demands from each one of us a serious examination of conscience, especially when we complain about the few fruits we see around us. Goodness and badness however are not dimensions tied to an external condition, or to the natural temperament each one of us has. They are closely connected to the heart. It is in the heart that the difficult battle between good and evil, between faith and pride is played out. That is between being "good" or "bad." We should keep in mind in any case that, no one can declare himself free of sin, of weakness, of wretchedness, even inside. What Jesus asks -this is also evident in other Gospel passages-is that we pay attention to the state of our hearts. Our behaviour and the very structuring of our lives depend on the state of our hearts. Jesus says: "The good person out of the treasure of his heart brings out good things; the bad person from his or her bad store-house brings forth evil." In another place he says: "For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come" (Mk 7:21). Obviously, a good heart produces good intentions. Our whole interior life should be intent on changing our hearts. This involves, first of all, eradicating every bad instinct, every enclosure, every instance of being turned in upon oneself, and above all, eradicating the kind of pride which leads to a false sense of self-sufficiency. The building up of our own lives, like that of the Christian community itself, begins with the interior listening to the Word of God, that is allowing it to be planted in our hearts so that it bears fruit. Jesus ends his speech with the parable of the house founded on the rock. The words of the Gospel, when listened to and put into practice daily are like the foundations for a house. Every day the Gospel should nourish our lives, our thoughts, our decisions, and our actions. It is not enough to listen to the Gospel once and then put it aside and perhaps forget about it, as often happens. In so doing we shun the force of life that flows directly from the word of the Lord. Can the foundation of a house be put aside? The Gospel is the living foundation of our daily life, supporting it against the impetuous waves of evil that does not cease raging against us.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord