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The Everyday Prayer

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

Thanksgiving to the Lord for the year that has passed.

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

1 John 2, 18-21

Children, this is the final hour; you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and now many Antichrists have already come; from this we know that it is the final hour.

They have gone from among us, but they never really belonged to us; if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us. But this was to prove that not one of them belonged to us.

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and have all received knowledge.

I have written to you not because you are ignorant of the truth, but because you are well aware of it, and because no lie can come from the truth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of the year we hear this passage from the first letter of John, which begins with the statement: “ It is the last hour.” The pastoral tradition of the Church has us sing the ancient hymn, the Te Deum, a song of thanksgiving to the Lord for the days that he has given us. We know that the end of the calendar year is just a convention. But it is good to remember that time is not a meaningless dimension of our lives and that our days do not last forever. Days and years go by, and we are asked to live them in God's presence. Indeed history is not an empty shell: it is the place where our salvation happens, the place where the hard battle between good and evil, between the freedom of love and the slavery of evil, is carried on. John emphasizes this battle by invoking the presence of false prophets identified with the antichrist. It is the last hour, the hour of the final battle. Jesus warns the disciples about the “end times,” the last hour, several times in the Gospel. Mark writes: “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mk 13:23). This warning even appears in the letters of Paul, Peter and Jude. In saying that “the last hour has come,” John does not mean that history is about to end, but that now is the time of decision, the final choice that everyone has to make about Jesus and his Gospel. This is true for every Christian generation, and indeed for every believer. In fact, we are all put to the test during our lives by the enemies of the Gospel. We must stand firm with Jesus. And we cannot put the decision off until a later time, because we do not know whether there will be one. John notes with sadness that the false prophets are not strangers, they “they went out from us, but they did not belong to us.” They have not been “anointed by the Holy One”, that is, they do not have the Spirit of Jesus, which is poured out in the hearts of the disciples. It is not enough therefore to be physically in the community, we need to live with the spirit that animates it, becoming completely enveloped by it. And this happens when we have “knowledge,” that is, the wisdom of the Gospel. The apostle exhorts his readers to be steadfast in the Gospel: observing it will allow them to remain in communion with the Father. As this year draws to a close and a new year opens, the Church invites us to thank the Lord for the time that has passed and to face the coming year by submitting to the guidance of his Word.

Te Deum