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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (+605 ca.), bishop, father of the English church.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Peter 4,7-13

The end of all things is near, so keep your minds calm and sober for prayer. Above all preserve an intense love for each other, since love covers over many a sin. Welcome each other into your houses without grumbling. Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these varied graces of God, put it at the service of others. If anyone is a speaker, let it be as the words of God, if anyone serves, let it be as in strength granted by God; so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ, since to him alone belong all glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. My dear friends, do not be taken aback at the testing by fire which is taking place among you, as though something strange were happening to you; but in so far as you share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, so that you may enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

"The end of all things is near," Peter writes in his letter. He does not speak about it as a terrible thing to undergo, but as a major event toward which we should go, without delay, and with joy and reverence. It is necessary to be vigilant if one wants to seize the moment as an opportune time. The end of all things, however, is not something to put off to another time distant from our present existence. In truth, we should heed it as something in relation to the end of our own days. Actually, we could say that every day for us is the final moment, the day that will never return, and therefore decisive and definitive. Christians should live each day as if it were the last, also because we do not know when death will come. We should therefore be vigilant not just for a moment, but always, every day. Vigilance is not something abstract or that we do in a remote place. We are vigilant by persevering in prayer and living by love. To our consolation the apostle adds that love covers a great number of sins: those who love their brothers and sisters, serve the poor and weak, and have concern for others, also prepare their own salvation. This is a conviction that spans the entire spiritual tradition of the Church. Moreover, Jesus himself makes this clear when he affirms that salvation depends on our love for the poor, which he explains in chapter twenty-five of Matthew’s Gospel. We are all called to conduct our lives by living them for others. Peter, among many ways of serving the community, points to two of them that are already found in the Acts of the Apostles: the service of the Word of God and the soup-kitchen. He invites us to rediscover the centrality of prayer and charity: the two tracks along which salvation runs. The apostle, for the second time, as to express a special love for those Christians who were suffering the harshness of persecution, calls them "beloved." Perhaps the violence they suffered and which Peter compared to a fire was particularly hard. He exhorts them not to be shocked: it is normal in the life of a disciple to be suffering caused by opposition to the Gospel. Better still, he adds that they even have to be joyful about it, because in this way they participate in the very suffering of Christ. It is the way that the disciples must follow to obtain his same glory with the resurrection. In reality, no pain is wasted and no sacrifice is lost before the eyes of God. There is a ministry of suffering which shows the redeeming truth of the cross: it is from the cross that salvation begins. And the disciples of Jesus are called to "participate in the suffering of Christ" cooperating with him for the salvation of the world.

Memory of Jesus crucified