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The Everyday Prayer

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

In the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere the Community of Sant’Egidio prays for peace.
Memorial of Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death, brought to Rome where he died a martyr (+107).

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

Ephesians 2,1-10

And you were dead, through the crimes and the sins which used to make up your way of life when you were living by the principles of this world, obeying the ruler who dominates the air, the spirit who is at work in those who rebel. We too were all among them once, living only by our natural inclinations, obeying the demands of human self-indulgence and our own whim; our nature made us no less liable to God's retribution than the rest of the world. But God, being rich in faithful love, through the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, brought us to life with Christ -- it is through grace that you have been saved- and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus. This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how extraordinarily rich he is in grace. Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After proclaiming the greatness of God realized in Christ for the Church, Paul reminds the Ephesians of their pre-baptismal condition: they were dead, far from God, slaves to sin and therefore destined to die. Indeed sins lead to death. Transgressions and sins (for Paul, the two terms are synonymous) are not only seen as specific acts, but as a permanent condition of disobedience, of distance from God and of slavery to evil. Only obedience to God makes human existence free from sin. Before conversion, "all of us" - reminds Paul - were living according to the egocentric mentality of this world ("eon of this world"), subject to the "ruler of the power of the air" that is, of evil (Eph will 6:1l called "the devil"). In fact, subject to the spirit of evil, we acted according to our "desires," following "the passions of our flesh", obeying evil thoughts, instead of loving God "with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind." And so we were "by nature" under the wrath of God, that is in a situation that God could not tolerate, because it was inconsistent with His plan of love. However, in His great love, God intervened to save us: "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of his great love with which he loved us even we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." The Lord has compassion and turns his immeasurable love toward us. And this is what is extraordinary: he turns to a sinful man and therefore his enemy, not to a man already repentant. However he does not just free us from a dead-end situation; he even communicates to us the true Life. In Christ, the Father has revealed His merciful face. We, members of the Body of Christ, have already risen with him, and we are where he is: with God. United to Christ and to his Body, the Church, we are free from the blind fate of evil. Free, by grace, the apostle repeats. And faith is exactly the acceptance of this love that frees us. Believers therefore are free not because of their work, but for the love of God who stooped over us "while we were still sinners" (Rom 5:6.8.10). The apostle calls the primacy of grace against the temptation to "boast" that salvation comes from our "works". Faith is to accept God’s love in our hearts and let it work according to its power.

Prayer for peace