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The Everyday Prayer

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

Vigil of Pentecost

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we are not reborn through water and the Spirit,
we cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Colossians 2, 16-23

Then never let anyone criticise you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals, New Moons or Sabbaths.

These are only a shadow of what was coming: the reality is the body of Christ.

Do not be cheated of your prize by anyone who chooses to grovel to angels and worship them, pinning every hope on visions received, vainly puffed up by a human way of thinking;

such a person has no connection to the Head, by which the whole body, given all that it needs and held together by its joints and sinews, grows with the growth given by God.

If you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though you were still living in the world?

-'Do not pick up this, do not eat that, do not touch the other,'

and all about things which perish even while they are being used -- according to merely human commandments and doctrines!

In these rules you can indeed find what seems to be good sense -- the cultivation of the will, and a humility which takes no account of the body; but in fact they have no value against self-indulgence.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
he sent me to bring good news to the poor.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle once again warns the Colossians not to succumb to the allure of the false doctrines that are trying to insinuate themselves into the community, and to distance it from the Gospel it has received. He urges them to not be intimidated by the arrogant judgments pronounced by the false teachers against those who do not follow them. Paul notes several practices of this false “philosophy”, including the observance of ritual regulations probably belonging to the Jewish tradition, and clarifies that those who observe them have not yet accepted the complete sovereignty of Christ over their lives: indeed, Jesus alone is the Saviour (the “reality” that saves). In order to describe this “reality,” he chooses the term “body”, with which he means the Church, the place where salvation is already given by the presence of the Lord. The false teachers probably invited their followers to practice “humility”, that is, submission to the cosmic powers identified with angels. But those who submit to other powers and forces (even their own habits and sense of security) and not to Christ, distance themselves from salvation. Jesus, in fact, is the Head of the Body that is the Church, and he is the one who maintains the unity of its members. Everything that damages the unity of the Body leads to separation from Christ himself. Therefore there is no difference between union with Jesus and union with the community. It is not possible to think we are in communion with the Head if we are not in communion with the Body. The apostle reveals the absurdity of the “philosophy” of these pseudo-teachers. They have all the appearance of wisdom and of an authentic religion, with rituals and mortifications that do not fail to impress, giving it an air of seriousness. But in reality, it detaches its followers from their brothers and sisters and, hence, from Christ. In order to gain salvation, the false teachers impose mortifications of the flesh, which end up “puffing up” the flesh, that is, increasing pride. Their prohibitions and their abstinence have the opposite effect of what they intend: they do not bring about the death of the old self, but the affirmation of their pride. These ritual practices do not open people to listening to the Gospel, but close them in on themselves, trapping them in a form of “boasting” that puffs up their ego and separates them from the community. Paul strips bare the perversity of the “philosophy” of only thinking of ourselves and living for ourselves. Baptism, on the contrary, frees believers from the old self and from all fear, immersing them in the death and resurrection of Christ. All disciples need the Teacher, and it is to Him that they now belong. This is what it means to belong to the community, to the Church: rescued from the powers of this world, the believer is under the influence of the Risen One


Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 February
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 February
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 February
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 February
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 23 February
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 February
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 February
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 February
Liturgy of the Sunday