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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

Matthew 7, 15-20

'Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves.

You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit.

A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit.

Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire.

I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus puts his listeners on guard against the danger of being attracted by false prophets, that is, against those people, or a way of life that seem easier and more immediate, but which, in reality, steals life like a ravenous wolf. It is well-known that wolves are the mortal enemies of sheep. But Jesus adds a twist: these wolves do not seem fierce; they disguise themselves as lambs, that is, they use a familiar appearance to mix themselves in with the flock, in order to tear it apart and destroy it more easily, leaving no possibility of escape. Jesus is thinking in particular of the behaviour of the Pharisees, and he warns his disciples to be careful not to imitate them. They behave in such a way that they destroy any newness of God. We can speak of “pharisaic” behaviour as a way of living one’s faith in appearance only, or of conforming to the world’s selfish mentality, which often leads Christians to live with a strongly individualistic attitude. This is a Christianity in which mercy is rare, love is narrowed to oneself and the passion to change the world is withered. The gratuitousness of working to help others is replaced by the primacy of self interest, and the dream for a world of justice and peace is chilled by resignation and self-absorption. It is easy for all of us to be seduced by a “normal,” resigned life. And we must not forget that temptation - all temptation - always seems flattering and reasonable. That is why it can so easily catch us in its snares. But how can we unmask the wolves disguised as sheep? Jesus gives us an unfailing test when he says, “You will know them by their fruits.” All the thoughts and ideas that make our hearts and lives miserable, bearing no good fruit for ourselves or others, are false prophecies. If our hearts are full of ourselves, we cannot bear fruits of love. The example of the tree that produces good fruit and the one that produces bad fruit reminds us of the unity of being and doing. The pharisaic spirit thrives when these two dimensions are divided. The disciples of Jesus are called to be what they have become by grace, that is, children of God. The apostle Paul lists the works that are born of those who let themselves be guided by “flesh”: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and carousing. And then he immediately lists the works that flow from the spiritual person: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He closes, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:19-26).


06/25/2014
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets


Calendar of the week
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
DEC
6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
DEC
9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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