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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Philippians 2, 1-18

So if in Christ there is anything that will move you, any incentive in love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any warmth or sympathy -- I appeal to you,

make my joy complete by being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind.

Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others,

everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others.

Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.

But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being,

he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

And for this God raised him high, and gave him the name which is above all other names;

so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus

and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So, my dear friends, you have always been obedient; your obedience must not be limited to times when I am present. Now that I am absent it must be more in evidence, so work out your salvation in fear and trembling.

It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act.

Let your behaviour be free of murmuring and complaining

so that you remain faultless and pure, unspoilt children of God surrounded by a deceitful and underhand brood, shining out among them like bright stars in the world,

proffering to it the Word of life. Then I shall have reason to be proud on the Day of Christ, for it will not be for nothing that I have run the race and toiled so hard.

Indeed, even if my blood has to be poured as a libation over your sacrifice and the offering of your faith, then I shall be glad and join in your rejoicing-

and in the same way, you must be glad and join in my rejoicing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul exhorts the Christians of Philippi to live in love. But, this is only possible if we are animated by humility, and not by vainglory, only if we seek the interests of others over our own. The apostle touches here on one of the central aspects of his request of the Philippians: unity and holiness are only attainable if everyone turns their gaze toward Jesus and receive within themselves “the same mind of Jesus.” Christians model their hearts on Jesus’ feelings and their minds on Jesus’ thoughts. The disciple imitates the Teacher fully: he follows him, he listens to him and remains with him always. Jesus’ life, we know, is characterized by kenosis, by self-emptying: he, who was God, humbled himself, becoming a slave, accepting even death on a cross, just to remain faithful to his choice of love, his choice to save the world. His emptying of himself to the point of being a slave was not a choice of false humility, but the result of a love that knew no limits. Out of such a love God exalted Jesus, saving him from the clutches of death. And in the name of Jesus all are able to find salvation. Paul calls upon the Christians of Philippi to continue to live in obedience to the Gospel because by doing so they have yielded many fruits. He asks them to avoid murmuring, so that they may be “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” The community must shine “like stars in the world” by holding fast to the word of life. Paul knows well that the Christian community, even if it is facing tribulations, can resist because it relies on the Gospel. If Christians continue to live the Gospel, making it the foundation of their life, the apostle says that he is certain that he did not run in vain. He says the same of himself, because he sought to follow the Lord. He invites us to obey the Gospel daily in order to be free from the slavery of egocentrism. The disciple, and every Christian community, is called to fix his attention on the word that the Lord sends every day. We should listen to it, welcome it, cherish it in our hearts and communicate everywhere. This is the joy that the apostle himself lives out and that he wants to communicate the Christians of Philippi, and to us, disciples of the last hour.

Sunday Vigil