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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 10, 19-31

We have then, brothers, complete confidence through the blood of Jesus in entering the sanctuary,

by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his flesh.

And we have the high priest over all the sanctuary of God.

So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our hearts sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy.

Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.

Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do, but encourage each other; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.

If, after we have been given knowledge of the truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them.

There is left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the fiery wrath that is to devour your enemies.

Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two witnesses or three;

and you may be sure that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the blood of the covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace, will be condemned to a far severer punishment.

We are all aware who it was that said: Vengeance is mine; I will pay them back. And again: The Lord will vindicate his people.

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Concluding the doctrinal discussion on Jesus as high priest, the author reminds believers of the consequences that they must draw. Union with the “flesh” of Christ, with His body, admits us into the sanctuary where He has entered. In these words, it is easy to intuit that the author is speaking of the Eucharist understood as the most direct route for entering the sanctuary, that is, for directly and personally encountering the Lord. Communion with the Body of Christ is the direct communion with God and therefore with all the brothers and sisters. The author uses the term “parrhesia” which indicates, in the context of ancient Greece, the “liberty to say everything”, that is, the right to be citizens by full title of the city. To receive the right to “parrhesia” means having the freedom to turn to God without intermediaries, and, therefore, to be able to speak with Him with the total confidence of children. It is the “road” that Jesus has opened for us and which the Letter exhorts us to travel without fear: “Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” To live in community, participating in the Holy Liturgy, in the fellowship, in the love for the most poor, in engagement so that the life of all may be more serene, all this means travelling the path that Jesus has opened for us. For this reason, the Letter exhorts believers to spur each other “into love” and to be generous in “good works.” Those who neglect the common meetings are warned that by doing so they take themselves far away from the sanctuary, from God himself. The danger of apostasy, that is, of abandoning faith, even before it is a theoretical question, is a problem of the heart, or better, of entrusting one’s life to the Lord. And one needs to understand that the abandonment does not come in an unforeseen manner; it begins by missing common events, remaining in silence, until slipping little by little into a rupture of communion. In this way – warns the Letter – one has “spurned the Son of God” and has “outraged the Spirit of grace.” And unfortunately prevarication may become irremediable and it is a tragedy for those who allow themselves to be swept away.

Prayer for peace