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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

John 15, 12-17

This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.

No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.

My command to you is to love one another.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has spoken to the disciples of the new commandment and now in the solemnity of his farewell address he takes it up again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” He does not simply say, “Love one another.” He adds the amount that this reciprocal love must be “as I have loved you.” From the allegory of the vine one could deduce the quality of Gospel love: the sap the vine emits into the branch is exactly Jesus’ love. The love the disciples therefore is not just any love, it is not born from them, from their traditions, or their personalities or training. Gospel love is a gift that one receives from Jesus himself. It is agape, that is the love of God that is poured into our hearts. It is a totally gratuitous love that forgets itself and which arrives even to give its own life for others. Jesus loved in this way. Christian love transforms the relationship between the Teacher and the disciple, between the Creator and the created: that hierarchical existing distance is erased and it is overcome by a new relationship, that of the gratuitous love of God. Jesus explains this new relationship which has been established between him and his disciples, saying, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” We could say then that the substance of the bond between Jesus and the disciples is friendship. Already Abraham was called a “friend” by God and not his slave, because God hid nothing from him. Even Jesus does not have servants, but only friends. The word “friend” is not a worn out expression for Jesus. It is a word of commitment for his own life. He feels friendship for everyone, even for Judas who is about to betray him. And if we want to even find a preference in this divine friendship, it is the one that God has for the weakest, the poor, the sinners, and the excluded. It is a preference that we should all live and that should appear much clearer in the Church. The preferential love for the poor is the mark that characterizes the divine quality of love. It is the prophecy that Christians are called to witness at the beginning of this new century. The solid base of friendship can change the world. For Jesus, and therefore, for all Christians, no man, no woman is an enemy. There is no trace of the culture of the enemy in the Gospels. Rather, there is an incredible witness of friendship. His disciples know that this is the treasure that they must live and communicate generation after generation.

Memory of Jesus crucified