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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Polycarp, disciple of the apostle John, bishop and martyr (†155).

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 5, 1-5

It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, immorality of a kind that is not found even among gentiles: that one of you is living with his stepmother.

And you so filled with your own self-importance! It would have been better if you had been grieving bitterly, so that the man who has done this thing were turned out of the community.

For my part, however distant I am physically, I am present in spirit and have already condemned the man who behaved in this way, just as though I were present in person.

When you have gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus, with the presence of my spirit, and in the power of our Lord Jesus,

hand such a man over to Satan, to be destroyed as far as natural life is concerned, so that on the Day of the Lord his spirit may be saved.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

After the first four chapters, which form an extended introduction to the letter, Paul now responds to several issues concerning the life of the community. We can see from the apostle’s words how strong his bond was to the community of Corinth. He decisively takes on the case of incest that had occurred in the community and needed to be resolved. This passage leads us to rediscover our responsibility to correct our brothers and sisters, something that is often disregarded, whether for laziness or disinterest. Correction requires us to take on the responsibility of fraternity. It requires long and patient “work” – which does not exclude harshness – to try to change the heart of the one who has erred and to preserve the growth of the community. The gravity of the sin, as in this case, requires an equally grave decision in order to uproot the danger. But none of this is possible without love, paternal love. Unfortunately, we are sometimes guided by coldness or, worse, indifference. And so we become disinterested in our brothers and sisters. The apostle Paul teaches us to think about the salvation of those who have been stained with serious sins. The harsh judgment about the sinner was made “so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord” (v. 5). Paul’s first words are a reproach because this weed was not pulled up quickly and sternly; instead, the community contented itself with a few words of blame. According to the apostle, the community is responsible for the holiness of all it members: therefore, it is its responsibility – the responsibility of the whole community and of each individual member – to fraternally correct the brothers and sisters in order to drive out evil and build the one body of the Lord according to the spirit of the Gospel. This is the meaning of the fraternal correction that we read about in the Gospel and that reveals concrete solidarity among the members of the one family of God.

Sunday Vigil