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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 13, 16-20

'In all truth I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the one who sent him.

'Now that you know this, blessed are you if you behave accordingly.

I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: 'He who shares my table takes advantage of me.

I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He.

In all truth I tell you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel we have heard puts us back into the upper room. Jesus had just finished washing his disciples’ feet. He wanted to offer to the apostles a teaching that showed how far his love for them could go. The intent of the master was clear: he wanted this kind of love to reign among his disciples then and forever. Bending down to wash one another’s feet should be the highest qualification of those who want to become his disciple. With solemnity, Jesus says to them, “Servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.” The disciples of Jesus are called to always behave according to the logic of washing one another’s feet. We could say that was it was the clearest way to show concretely how to love others. It is in this effort to give one’s life for others that is hidden the joy of believers: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” The phrase that the Apostle Paul reports to the elders of Ephesus confirms this perspective: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is the presentation of a Christianity that finds its joy in loving others, in spending one’s life for the Gospel. It is not that this does not cost effort and does not entail sacrifice. But the communication of the Gospel of mutual love gives us an even greater joy, because it makes us participate in the great plan of love of God for the world. Unfortunately, the disciples of Jesus do not always live in this spirit. We let ourselves be overwhelmed easily by a self-centred and lazy lifestyle, which is slow in love and ready to preserve ourselves. In this way, we risk to distort the Gospel, and in any case, decrease its strength to change. Judah is the tragic example of this drift. He, who had been with Jesus in an intimate manner, so as to “eat the bread” in the same dish, reaches the point to sell him for few pennies. Knowing the weakness of the disciples, Jesus warns them of the difficulties that will come. At that moment, they will have to stand against the wiles of the evil that wants to subtract them from the good hands of the Master. It is decisive to remain bound to the Lord Jesus in every way. The problem is not to be without sin, but to put our hope in Jesus, even that to be forgiven when we turn away from him. The evangelist seems to suggest the solemnity of the Epiphany of Jesus: “I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he.” The formula “I Am” recalls the voice that Moses heard from the burning bush. In fact, by listening to Jesus, we listen to the Father himself who is in heaven. Whoever receives Jesus as Lord also receives the Father who is in heaven.

Memory of the Church