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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

Ephesians 1,1-10

Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ Jesus, to God's holy people, faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ. Thus he chose us in Christ before the world was made to be holy and faultless before him in love, marking us out for himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. Such was his purpose and good pleasure, to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins. Such is the richness of the grace which he has showered on us in all wisdom and insight. He has let us know the mystery of his purpose, according to his good pleasure which he determined beforehand in Christ, for him to act upon when the times had run their course: that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s passage begins the Letter to the Ephesians. Paul presents himself as "an apostle of Christ Jesus," that is, sent by the Risen One, serving the Gospel. In various letters, as well as in this one, the apostle repeats that his charisma is not to be credited to some merits or special qualities of his. Indeed, his poverty –he writes that he is "the very least of all the saints" (3:8) - is a guarantee of the authenticity of the message that has been entrusted to him. God has shown His strength with the "nothing" of the apostle. He calls Christians of Ephesus, "the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus," as he had also called the Colossians (see Col 1:2), meaning that they too have been chosen by God to be his "holy temple" (2:21). The term "saint" (the Apostle uses the plural), does not indicate a moral dimension of the Christians of Ephesus. It refers, rather, to an objective condition: Christians are "saints" because their life is offered to God. It is a sanctity derived not individually, but as a Church body, as a community loved by God and chosen to communicate the Gospel to the world. It is the community that is holy, and every single member of it is a saint because he or she is part of the community and shares in its life. It is not surprising that the Pauline letters do not use of the word "saint" in the singular, except in Philippians 4:21 where it acquires a collective value. We are saints together, because we are removed from the world of sin and placed in the life of Christ, the source and centre of communion. As members of the Church we are the Body of Christ. Obviously, if holiness is the grace received at the beginning of the life of the baptized, it requires a behaviour that conforms to what Christians have become. From being saints, we need to behave accordingly.

Memory of the Church