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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

Colossians 4, 7-18

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a very dear brother, and a trustworthy helper and companion in the service of the Lord.

I am sending him to you precisely for this purpose: to give you news about us and to encourage you thoroughly.

With him I am sending Onesimus, that dear and trustworthy brother who is a fellow-citizen of yours. They will tell you everything that is happening here.

Aristarchus, who is here in prison with me, sends his greetings, and so does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas -- you were sent some instructions about him; if he comes to you, give him a warm welcome-

and Jesus Justus adds his greetings. Of all those who have come over from the circumcision, these are the only ones actually working with me for the kingdom of God. They have been a great comfort to me.

Epaphras, your fellow-citizen, sends his greetings; this servant of Christ Jesus never stops battling for you, praying that you will never lapse but always hold perfectly and securely to the will of God.

I can testify for him that he works hard for you, as well as for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Greetings from my dear friend Luke, the doctor, and also from Demas.

Please give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nympha and the church which meets in her house.

After this letter has been read among you, send it on to be read in the church of the Laodiceans; and get the letter from Laodicea for you to read yourselves.

Give Archippus this message, 'Remember the service that the Lord assigned to you, and try to carry it out.'

This greeting is in my own hand-PAUL. Remember the chains I wear. Grace be with you.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of the Letter, Paul introduces to the Colossians the little group he has sent to them. Visiting communities is a significant experience in the Christian tradition, because it demonstrates the bond that crosses borders and unites people in a wide and concrete communion. The apostle presents them by name, one by one. First is Tychicus, whom he mentions several times in other letters (Eph 6:21; 2 Tim 4:12, Tit 3:12 and in Acts 20:4). Now he presents him as “a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow-servant in the Lord” (4:7). He gives him the task of telling them the news about his imprisonment. Paul knows that this will be helpful in encouraging and supporting the Colossians. He then names Onesimus, the slave of Philemon, who had fled to Paul and was sent by him back to his master as a “brother”; then Aristarchus, who shares his condition of prisoner (the Letter to the Colossians, as the one to the Philippians, was written from prison); next he speaks of Mark, presented as the cousin of Barnabas, and Jesus, called Justus (the just), who does not appear anywhere else. Finally, Epaphras is mentioned in relationship to the community of Colossae but also the neighbouring Churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis, and he appears as the most important fellow worker presented in the Letter. If Paul’s missionary activity is underlined at the beginning of the letter (1:6) here, in the final greetings, more attention is given to his other activities: his concern that the community grow in faith and continue on the journey it has undertaken. In truth, this is the most important commitment for every apostle and person with responsibility in the community, even if it is tiring and often painful. The final greetings are sent by Luke (who is mentioned here as a physician) and Demas. The Colossians are given the task of passing these greetings on to the believers of Laodicea, thereby renewing and consolidating the fraternal communion with the Churches and the apostles. He also mentions Nympha, who has made her house available to the community. In these few final lines, the apostle gives a sense of the concreteness of a fraternal communion made of faces and communities that know each other, meet each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. Even though Paul is aware of his individual pastoral vocation, he lives out his apostolic mission in a collegial way, not in a personal or self-promoting way. It is within this context of communion that he invites the Colossians to send the Letter to other Communities: they should all learn from the apostolic word that he never fails to provide, even if he is a prisoner. With a wonderful gesture of fraternity, he adds a few words in his own hand at the end of letter, as if to demonstrate more clearly how close he is. And with a reference to the chains that hold him prisoner, he places the Church of Colossae under the benevolence of God, the source of all good and all protection.

Sunday Vigil