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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Thanksgiving to the Lord for the past year

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 1, 1-18

In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him.

What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men;

and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.

A man came, sent by God. His name was John.

He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light.

The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world.

He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognise him.

He came to his own and his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name

who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself.

The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John witnesses to him. He proclaims: 'This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me has passed ahead of me because he existed before me.'

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received -- one gift replacing another,

for the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of the solar year the liturgy proclaims the prologue of John’s Gospel. The “Word,” is made flesh. The evangelist affirms that this Word has left the heavens and has come to live among us. We could say with great strength that the Word that lives in the heavens came to earth so that we would listen, and driven by the strength from which it comes even we can rise to the heavens where it lives forever. It is the mystery that fills the holy pages of Scripture. We know that the Bible is not the Word of God, but it contains it in an extraordinary way so that each of us can encounter it and welcome it into our hearts. We could say that God gave us the Word, His word. It’s up to us to welcome it, and in a certain way, return it. The Bible is the “sacrament” of the Word. When it is read and proclaimed in the Holy Liturgy it is God himself who turns in a direct and understandable way to all of us. The entire Bible was written so that we could touch with our hands the mystery of God’s love. Unfortunately—and the evangelist reminds us—such love is not always welcomed by men and women: the Word was light, and yet men and women have preferred the darkness; the Word came among us, but they did not welcome it. It is the mystery of evil that envelops even our lives and that requires vigilance and attention from each of us so that it does not prevail. The book of Genesis, right at the beginning, describes some God’s words to Cain: “If you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). Woe if we let him enter. If we did he would close the door to anyone else. If instead we open wide our hearts to the Word of God we will become His children. In the day of Christmas the first page of the Gospel was proclaimed to us; today we hear it again. It is the invitation to open the Gospel day after day, page after page. And so doing we will grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord. The Gospel must become flesh in our lives. Knowing the Gospel is the best way to thank the Lord for his continuous love for us. While it closes the days of the solar year, this first page of John’s Gospel helps us to understand that the true sun--the true light that never goes down--is Jesus. It is that word that has come down from heaven and that does not cease to give light to the steps of those who welcome him.

Te Deum