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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

Luke 13, 31-35

Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.'

He replied, 'You may go and give that fox this message: Look! Today and tomorrow I drive out devils and heal, and on the third day I attain my end.

But for today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.

'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!

Look! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you are saying: Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While Jesus is in Transjordan, a territory under the control of Herod, some Pharisees warn him that the king is trying to kill him. It is not the same Herod of Jesus’ childhood, but it is the same family. One could say that the opposition to the Gospel is a tradition that continues without interruption. The evil power of people is always scared of the power of the Gospel, both in the weakness of a child and in the weakness of a word that never fails to resound everywhere preaching clearly the primacy of love. This preaching is hampered by the Herod on duty. Jesus might flee to avoid the danger of being caught and killed, as it was the case with the Baptist. And it is likely that Jesus himself has now realized that it is increasingly dangerous to continue his journey to Jerusalem. Even the Pharisees who warn Jesus understood it. However, Jesus does not recede; he cannot betray the Gospel, he cannot stop his preaching. He knows, however, that his Gospel is stronger than the power of Herod. Indeed, it is necessary that the good news of the Kingdom is preached along the roads of Galilee and Judea till inside the walls of Jerusalem. This is why Jesus does not flee from Herod nor does he stop in front of dangers. He responds to the Pharisees: “It is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” Immediately after, he expresses the sad lament over the Holy City that has turned away from God to no longer being able to receive the word of prophets. Unfortunately, this deafness is not without consequences. The failure to hear the word of God will lead Jerusalem to destruction. How much bitterness in these words of Jesus: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” They are heartfelt words of the Lord that perhaps we have to repeat again today on many of our cities that are more and more wounded by violence. Only by accepting God’s prophecy, only if the words of love have citizenship in the hearts of men and women, our cities and our countries will be able to find the way of a more peaceful and serene coexistence. If the deafness to the Word of God coasts bitterly to the city, we must not forget that the disciples’ laziness in preaching the Word of God to the city of today costs more. As Jesus did then, believers even today must preach the Gospel in the life of the city. Knowing that it is still true what Jesus said, “It is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.”

Memory of the Church