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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

Hebrews 6, 1-20

Let us leave behind us then all the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to its completion, without going over the fundamental doctrines again: the turning away from dead actions, faith in God,

the teaching about baptisms and the laying -- on of hands, about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.

This, God willing, is what we propose to do.

As for those people who were once brought into the light, and tasted the gift from heaven, and received a share of the Holy Spirit,

and tasted the goodness of God's message and the powers of the world to come

and yet in spite of this have fallen away -- it is impossible for them to be brought to the freshness of repentance a second time, since they are crucifying the Son of God again for themselves, and making a public exhibition of him.

A field that drinks up the rain that has fallen frequently on it, and yields the crops that are wanted by the owners who grew them, receives God's blessing;

but one that grows brambles and thistles is worthless, and near to being cursed. It will end by being burnt.

But you, my dear friends -- in spite of what we have just said, we are sure you are in a better state and on the way to salvation.

God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the holy people of God.

Our desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same enthusiasm till the ultimate fulfilment of your hope,

never growing careless, but taking as your model those who by their faith and perseverance are heirs of the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since there was no one greater he could swear by:

I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants.

Because of that, Abraham persevered and received fulfilment of the promise.

Human beings, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between them, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute.

In the same way, when God wanted to show the heirs of the promise even more clearly how unalterable his plan was, he conveyed it by an oath

so that through two unalterable factors in which God could not be lying, we who have fled to him might have a vigorous encouragement to grasp the hope held out to us.

This is the anchor our souls have, reaching right through inside the curtain

where Jesus has entered as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Letter wants to help Christians grow in their understanding of the mystery of Christ. Notwithstanding their laziness in listening, it impels them to be nourished by a more substantial food. The author does not stop at the “the basic teaching about Christ”, which he identifies as “repentance from dead works,” as having faith in God, baptism, the imposition of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. It is necessary to hold well in mind all this because they are truths that stand as the foundation of every other consideration and must not be lost sight of. But there is need of a more perfect knowledge. He turns, therefore, to the Christians, and with the sternness of a pastor he asks why, notwithstanding having tasted the gift of God and savoured the wisdom of the Word, now they risk rejecting everything. To him it seems impossible that they are able to return to their past life, the one before their conversion to the Gospel; this would signify denying Christ and crucifying him one more time. The author, instead, wishes to exhort them to not to stop on the path towards perfection and to stand therefore in continual listening to the Word of God. Disciples can never dispense from hearing the Gospel and thus from the effort of changing their hearts. The author hopes that all believers, even the laziest, may be as a land “soaked” by abundant rain with copious fruits of holiness. Those, instead, who harden their hearts, become a cursed land that will produce only “thorns and thistles.” For them, there remains only the destructive fire of a terrible judgment. But the author – to reinforce the hope of Christians – mentions also the works of faith and of love that they have done: “For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake”; and obviously God will not fail to give his help. Those who live the Gospel with generosity will “become heirs of the promises.” The believer has before his eyes Abraham, who believed in the promise of the Lord, made a solemn oath, and became the heir to it, even if after a long and persevering waiting. And Jesus is even greater than Abraham: he has entered “the inner shrine behind the curtain” becoming thus for us high priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Sunday Vigil