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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Thessalonians 1,1-5.11-12

Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonica which is in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always thank God for you, brothers; quite rightly, because your faith is growing so wonderfully and the mutual love that each one of you has for all never stops increasing. Among the churches of God we take special pride in you for your perseverance and faith under all the persecutions and hardships you have to bear. It all shows that God's judgement is just, so that you may be found worthy of the kingdom of God; it is for the sake of this that you are suffering now. In view of this we also pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness, and complete all that you have been doing through faith; so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy write together again in this second Letter to the Thessalonians. Paul and Silvanus had been imprisoned because of their preaching after having been beaten cruelly. In prison as the clock struck midnight, they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God together and the Lord mysteriously freed them (see Acts 16:19-30). Timothy, however, had often been praised by Paul and proposed as an exemplary believer. In any case, both Silvanus and Timothy had been instructed by the apostle to preach also in Macedonia (see Acts 18:4). The opening of this letter shows the fraternity of these three disciples as they work together to spread the Gospel. Together they address the little community of Thessaloniki, which has grown so much in faith and love that has become an example for the other communities. The evangelical life of one community influences the others; it is the fruit of the "communion of saints." The apostle is rightly proud of it, especially because the little community of Thessaloniki had been tested by no small amount of opposition. The Jews of the city considered it a dangerous rival and had raised the people up against it. The apostle reminds these Christians that they are not safe from persecution. "But anyone who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13). The purifying fire of suffering is the first part of the judgment that will take place at the end of history, when those who have persevered in faith and love will be separated from those who have abandoned them. Only those who have persevered will be citizens of the Kingdom of God, as the apostle Peter reminds us: "Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet 4:16-17). Suffering is necessary for Jesus’ disciples. And we should not be deceived by the fact that the wicked are spared. The psalmist already noted, "For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pain; their bodies are sound and sleek" (Ps 73:3-4). Paul responds, "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow" (Gal 6:7). Everything will become clear at the end of time. With language characteristic of apocalyptic writings, Paul describes God’s irresistible judgment: those who rebel against the Gospel will be lost in eternal loneliness "separated from the presence of the Lord," while those who have persevered in listening to the Word of God and in serving the poor will see the Lord "face to face" (1 Cor 13:12). Paul prays that everyone may reach the "perfect fulfilment" of days when they righteous will stand next to the throne of the Lamb and will sing to the Lord a new song, as is written in Revelation: "Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great... Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come!" (Rev 19:5, 7).

Memory of the Poor