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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Corinthians 2, 1-17

I made up my mind, then, that my next visit to you would not be a painful one,

for if I cause you distress I am causing distress to my only possible source of joy.

Indeed, I wrote as I did precisely to spare myself distress when I visited you, from the very people who should have given me joy, in the conviction that for all of you my joy was yours too.

I wrote to you in agony of mind, not meaning to cause you distress but to show you how very much love I have for you.

If anyone did cause distress, he caused it not to me, but -- not to exaggerate -- in some degree to all of you.

The punishment already imposed by the majority was quite enough for such a person;

and now by contrast you should forgive and encourage him all the more, or he may be overwhelmed by the extent of his distress.

That is why I urge you to give your love towards him definite expression.

This was in fact my reason for writing, to test your quality and whether you are completely obedient.

But if you forgive anybody, then I too forgive that person; and whatever I have forgiven, if there is anything I have forgiven, I have done it for your sake in Christ's presence,

to avoid being outwitted by Satan, whose scheming we know only too well.

When I came to Troas for the sake of the gospel of Christ and a door was opened for me there in the Lord,

I had no relief from anxiety, not finding my brother Titus there, and I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

But, thanks be to God who always gives us in Christ a part in his triumphal procession, and through us is spreading everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of himself.

To God we are the fragrance of Christ, both among those who are being saved and among those who are on the way to destruction;

for these last, the smell of death leading to death, but for the first, the smell of life leading to life. Who is equal to such a task?

At least we do not adulterate the word of God, as so many do, but it is in all purity, as envoys of God and in God's presence, that we speak in Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul had decided not to return to Corinth so as not to afflict the community. Their sadness would also have saddened him. On the other hand, he does not want to rule over his communities, he wants them to grow lovingly. He had therefore sent them a letter (now lost), written with “many tears,” in which he expressed his grief and sorrow: “But to let you know the abundant love that I have for you” (v. 4). Not that the sorrow caused by the one who had offended him personally had disappeared (see 7.12). That person, in truth, was also offending the entire community; thus it was right to punish him. The punishment, however, observes Paul, should not be pushed as far as harshness. The necessary exercise of correction must not endanger the salvation of the guilty. Thus, it is necessary to exercise charity of forgiveness also towards those who have sown discord. Notwith¬standing the difficulties he encountered, Paul does not cease to render thanks to God for having made him a participant in the Gospel of the resurrection which he has tirelessly communicated to all, above all to the Gentiles and which has become the “perfume of Christ” for the whole world. Paul is aware that communicating the Gospel is the foundation of Christian life. For those who listen to it, the Gospel becomes an occasion for a decisive choice, for life or for death. Those who choose it become in turn the fragrance of Christ. To deprive anyone of the Word of life which comes from God is therefore a great responsibility. Strong of the Gospel, we communi¬cate it with frankness and generosity so that the fragrance of Christ may reach all.

Memory of the Poor