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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 12, 12-17

So steady all weary hands and trembling knees

and make your crooked paths straight; then the injured limb will not be maimed, it will get better instead.

Seek peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord.

Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a large number.

And be careful that there is no immoral person, or anyone worldly minded like Esau, who sold his birthright for one single meal.

As you know, when he wanted to obtain the blessing afterwards, he was rejected and, though he pleaded for it with tears, he could find no way of reversing the decision.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The author calls on the Christian community, which was risking a weakening in their faith, to take up again the vigour of the Gospel: “Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (12:12-13). The exhortation recalls the indispensability of education in the lives of the disciples. Following the Lord, in fact, requires that disciples change their heart, mute their thoughts, in short, allow themselves to be guided by the Gospel more than by their own pride, or by their own instincts or by their own habits. Only in obeying the Gospel and its pedagogy are we able to grow in wisdom and love. A great concern is the art of being pastoral, as the Church Fathers called it. It is a matter of priority that “shepherds,” those responsible for the community, commit themselves to the interior growth of believers. In truth, all disciples are called to correct themselves and to help others to grow in faith and holiness. The author asks all Christians to be vigilant so that “no one fails to obtain the grace of God.” We could say that the entire community is called to be vigilant, that is, to exercise the ‘episcopal’ task (the ‘episcopos’ is one who oversees – literally one who looks from above – and cares): to be attentive to the faith of one’s brothers and one’s sisters. Attentiveness not to cultivate “poisonous roots”, that is, self-centred attitudes which disturb the life of the community and impede its growth, is also part of this vigilance. For this reason the author again exhorts: “See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birth right for a single meal.” Enslavement to our instincts and desires leads to thinking only of ourselves, without concern for others. This attitude leads inexorably to the loss of that which really counts, as with Esau who, for a plate of lentils, lost his birth right. And his repentance later was not enough.

Sunday Vigil