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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Colossians 3, 5-17

That is why you must kill everything in you that is earthly: sexual vice, impurity, uncontrolled passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god;

it is precisely these things which draw God's retribution upon those who resist.

And these things made up your way of life when you were living among such people,

but now you also must give up all these things: human anger, hot temper, malice, abusive language and dirty talk;

and do not lie to each other. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self,

and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its Creator;

and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised and uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

As the chosen of God, then, the holy people whom he loves, you are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.

Over all these clothes, put on love, the perfect bond.

And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together in one body. Always be thankful.

Let the Word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God;

and whatever you say or do, let it be in the name of the Lord Jesus, in thanksgiving to God the Father through him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The disciple, having become a “new self,” is already living in the world inaugurated by the Risen One. But woe to us if we let ourselves become deluded into thinking we are safe from the snares of sin, which, as written in Genesis, is “crouched” at the door of our heart. Being a new creation requires the disciple to behave accordingly. This is why Paul reminds the disciples of the need to mortify (to put to death) “whatever in you is earthly,” that is, the instincts that drive us to life only to satisfy ourselves. Paul lists several, ranging from sexual disorders to greed, characterized as idolatry. In fact, the insatiable thirst to possess things for oneself absorbs a person’s energies to the point of subjugating his or her heart. Discipleship requires us to struggle against sin and commit ourselves to mastering our instincts. It is a true battle, aimed at diminishing our pride so that our love can grow. This is the way to create a true communion of love between the members of the community. But living instead by putting ourselves at the centre means living under God’s wrath, under His judgment. God does not tolerate evil threatening men and women and turning them away from their vocation. This is why the apostle reminds the Colossians of their past pagan behaviours (3:7), so that they might understand the grace they received when they entered into the community of disciples. He reminds them that they need to put off every evil behaviour, just like clothing is taken off. He lists several vices: “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth,” all of which spring from immoderate speaking and poisonous relationships in the community. Once again, he returns to baptism: believers have “clothed [themselves] with Christ” (Gal 3:27; Rom 13:14) and belong to him to the point that they can say, “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Gal 2:20). This belonging requires us to renew our hearts, so that, as disciples, we might become more and more similar to Christ, the greatest image of God (Col 1:15). In the new person there is no division of culture, race, or social class, as Paul writes to the Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Union with Christ relativizes our differences: what unites us is much stronger than what divides us.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord