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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

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 John 2, 29-3,6

If you know that he is upright you must recognise that everyone whose life is upright is a child of his.

You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children -- which is what we are! The reason why the world does not acknowledge us is that it did not acknowledge him.

My dear friends, we are already God's children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.

Whoever treasures this hope of him purifies himself, to be as pure as he is.

Whoever sins, acts wickedly, because all sin is wickedness.

Now you are well aware that he has appeared in order to take sins away, and that in him there is no sin.

No one who remains in him sins, and whoever sins has neither seen him nor recognised him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John exhorts his disciples to “abide” in Jesus, to remain in communion with him, to never break away from him. It is a theme that is particularly dear to the apostle whom “Jesus loved”, and it often appears in the pages of his Gospel and this letter. For John it is a specific characteristic of Christian love. He had always been with Jesus from the beginning, and he must have felt especially bitter after fleeing from Jesus when he was captured in the garden of olives. For John, abiding with that Teacher is the substance of salvation. He will not abandon him again, and he will stand under his cross. The apostle can reassure Christians that by “abiding” with Jesus they will have nothing to fear, not even the last judgment (the parousia); they are already saved, since they have been “born of him.” In the Prologue to the Gospel, we read: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:12-13). Therefore we are children of God not in mere words but in reality, if, obviously, we remain united with Jesus, the first-born Son. The apostle is very aware that this is the heart of the mystery of God's love, and urges his readers to contemplate it: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” The love of God, which saves us from sin and death, makes Christians “incomprehensible” to the violent and self-centred mentality of this world. It is true that the Gospel is inherently foreign to the mentality of the world. And yet this love is exactly what the world needs, a love that asks Jesus' disciples to give heroic witness. Throughout the history of the Church, there have always been Christians who have witnessed to this love to the point of shedding their blood. But the time will come when the mystery of love will be revealed. Then Christians, who now see as in a mirror, will see the Lord “face to face”, as Paul says to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:12).

Prayer of the Christmas season