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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom ("golden mouth"), bishop and doctor of the Church (349-407). The most common liturgy of the Byzantine Church takes its name from him.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Corinthians 12,12-14.27-31

For as with the human body which is a unity although it has many parts -- all the parts of the body, though many, still making up one single body -- so it is with Christ. We were baptised into one body in a single Spirit, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as free men, and we were all given the same Spirit to drink. And indeed the body consists not of one member but of many. Now Christ's body is yourselves, each of you with a part to play in the whole. And those whom God has appointed in the Church are, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers; after them, miraculous powers, then gifts of healing, helpful acts, guidance, various kinds of tongues. Are all of them apostles? Or all prophets? Or all teachers? Or all miracle-workers? Do all have the gifts of healing? Do all of them speak in tongues and all interpret them? Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am going to put before you the best way of all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul uses the example of one body with many members to clarify the necessity for a variety of charisms, which are all given to the Church to build up the unity of the body. The image that Paul uses is an effective one, and it allows us to see the Church as the "body of Christ," animated by the one Spirit. The apostle will develop this theme more broadly in the letter to the Ephesians. Here he emphasizes unity by referring to the one baptism: "For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (v. 13). And, Paul adds, "Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many" (v. 14). Its unity, however, is given by the Spirit. This image helps us to understand better that the Christian community is not the sum of individual people; it is not the fruit of the juxtaposition of so many individuals next to each other; it is not a club created out of shared interests or a sort of charitable organization. The Church is not born from individual people or from one person’s efforts, it is an organic body made and animated by the one Spirit. Consequently, we have to say that the Church is born from on High, from God himself. And it is the Lord who arranges the different parts in an orderly manner so that they form one body. Consequently every single part, every single disciple, has his or her own task and his or her own function, which cannot be done by anyone else. These parts are not absolute and unique, but they are all indispensable, each with its own function. People do not decide what to do on their own, and there is no exclusive specialization of some at the expense of others. All are brothers and sisters. This dimension is given by the shared call to be disciples, that is, followers of Jesus. That is why when the Second Vatican Council speaks of the "people of God," it intends everyone: clergy, religious, and lay people alike. We are all members of God’s only family. Indeed, if there is any preference to be given, it should be given to the "more humble" parts. In these pages written by the apostle, we once again find the preferential love for the weak that is attested to in all of Scripture. And in every situation, "The members," the apostle emphasizes, "have the same care for one another."

Memory of the Mother of the Lord