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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

James 4,13-17

Well now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we are off to this or that town; we are going to spend a year there, trading, and make some money.' You never know what will happen tomorrow: you are no more than a mist that appears for a little while and then disappears. Instead of this, you should say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we shall still be alive to do this or that.' But as it is, how boastful and loud -- mouthed you are! Boasting of this kind is always wrong. Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and does not do it commits a sin.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The presumptuous security of the disciple is great foolishness, because it does not take into consideration the fragility and powerlessness of which we are made. The sentence reported by James was probably the sentence of the rich who, like our generation were afraid of stopping and understanding their fragility and weakness. Like the fool in the Gospel parable, they were seeking their own interest, they relied on it for their happiness and they thought they could use their lives and goods as they pleased. No, life is a gift from God’s hands and has meaning not in fretting but in losing oneself in love. James suggests that only God can give security and to Him alone should we entrust our lives. A human being, far from being able to decide his future, does not even know what life has in store for him. Our paraded security and foolish superficiality only reveal our stupidity and blindness. "What is your life?" James asks, and his response is severe: "For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." He is referring not only to the vanity of life, but also to the poverty of humanity, and he is speaking in particular to those who do not seriously reflect on their existence. James invites his readers to turn to God and trust in the One who alone can give security. Following the Lord frees us from our toils and our restless "busyness." The words of Gospel regarding entrusting ourselves in the Lord’s hands who provides everything, either small or big, as Jesus says in the Sermon of the Mount come to mind (see Mt 6:25-34). James warns the disciples against presumption and pride in the same way that Paul did with the arrogant Corinthians, "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?" (1 Cor 4:7). Believers entrust themselves totally to God and put their present and their future into God’s hands.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets