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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

2 Timothy 2,8-15

Remember the gospel that I carry, 'Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David'; it is on account of this that I have to put up with suffering, even to being chained like a criminal. But God's message cannot be chained up. So I persevere for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they, too, may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. Here is a saying that you can rely on: If we have died with him, then we shall live with him. If we persevere, then we shall reign with him. If we disown him, then he will disown us. If we are faithless, he is faithful still, for he cannot disown his own self. Remind them of this; and tell them in the name of God that there must be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening. Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who has no need to be ashamed, but who keeps the message of truth on a straight path.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul exhorts Timothy to be strong, not to lose spirit, and not to abandon himself to the faint-heartedness to which he was inclined (see 1:6-8.13). The wellspring of his strength is the "grace that is in Christ Jesus." It is from his encounter with Jesus that Timothy should continuously draw strength and inspiration for his ministry. The apostle tells him to transmit the Gospel that he has "heard from him through many witnesses" and to entrust it in turn to trustworthy people so that they may transmit it to others. This is the meaning of the tradition of the Church, which gives the same Gospel from one generation to another in an unbroken chain that links the faith of today to the preaching of the Apostles and to Jesus himself. It is not a matter of transmitting abstract truths, but the life with Jesus that becomes a witness of love in history. This is why, just as he did in the previous letter, Paul reminds Timothy to be a "good soldier of Christ," just as he, his teacher and model, was himself. He needs to be aware of the fact that preaching the Gospel implies dishonour and discomfort. The "willingness to accept all suffering" is an integral part of a disciple’s witness. Therefore every disciple has to behave like a soldier who dedicates him or herself entirely to the service of the Gospel without doing anything else that might distract him or her; or like an athlete who follows the rules of the contest, without setting off on individual journeys outside of the tradition of the community; or like a farmer who does not fear effort and sacrifice and dedicates his life so that in the end he will be able to gather the fruit of his labour. Above all, the disciple needs to welcome into his or her heart the mystery of "Jesus Christ, raised from the dead." The resurrection of Jesus is the central mystery of the Christian faith and needs to be the same for the life of the disciple. This is the Gospel that Paul preached, and it is for this that he is now suffering in chains in prison "like a criminal." But, Paul adds, "The word of God is not chained." It is stronger than chains and stronger than death itself; no human power can keep it in check (4:17). Rather, trials only strengthen preaching and testimony. When he was in prison for the first time, Paul had already written, "Most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear" (Phil 1:14). Paul knows that his "suffering" is part of his apostolic vocation, and so it is for the disciples of every age. The disciples are called to follow the path of Jesus. Martyrdom, giving one’s own life for Jesus, is an integral part of the Gospel. This is why Paul can sing, "If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him." All those who give their lives for Christ inherit glory with him. But as for the destiny of those who separate themselves from Christ, Jesus himself says, "whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven" (Mt 10:33). In any case, the apostle adds, it is good to know that Jesus "remains faithful." He will never be unfaithful. This is just the fatherly admonition the apostle gives believers so that they know that Jesus is always waiting for us, just as the father waited for the prodigal son.

Memory of the Church