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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 13, 1-6

Continue to love each other like brothers,

and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the body.

Marriage must be honoured by all, and marriages must be kept undefiled, because the sexually immoral and adulterers will come under God's judgement.

Put avarice out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I shall not fail you or desert you,

and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord on my side, I fear nothing: what can human beings do to me?


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This last chapter of the Letter opens with an exhortation to love: “Let mutual love continue.” This is to be distinguished not only by the works of charity, as in the past (see 6:l0, l0:33), but by “remaining” in love. Moreover Jesus had said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This mutual love specifies the community as Christian and makes it an efficacious witness of the Gospel. An integral part of this fraternity is attention to “hospitality.” The biblical tradition is permeated by this golden thread of hospitality. The author reminds us that “by doing … [so] some have entertained angels without knowing it.” The reference, to Abraham who welcomed the three pilgrims under the oak of Mamre, is evident. We may add that the entire Christian story is marked by this tension towards hospitality. In the universal judgment as reported by Matthew (25:35), Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Brotherly and sisterly love does not remain closed in the circle of one’s own community; necessarily it extends towards others, towards prisoners and those who suffer, and towards all those who are waiting for help. Even marriage is included in the horizon of this love. The author wishes to preserve it from those betrayals which arise from the satisfaction of one’s own instincts or one’s own desires. Marriage, in fact, which goes beyond simple sexual union, is aimed at the creation of a family in society and in the church that enables a harmonious existence through all stages and conditions of life. Christians are invited to choose an austere lifestyle and not to be dominated by a frantic race for a personal well-being that does not take the life of others into account. This is why the Letter first warns against avarice, that is, against accumulating wealth for oneself without considering one’s responsibility for the poor and the weak. The call ‘to be contented’ with what one has is not an invitation to resignation, but an exhortation to abandon ourselves to the mercy of God who never leaves us. It is a Gospel lifestyle that Jesus lived in the first person and has passed on to his disciples.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets