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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

Ephesians 4,32-5,8

Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ. As God's dear children, then, take him as your pattern, and follow Christ by loving as he loved you, giving himself up for us as an offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God. Among you there must be not even a mention of sexual vice or impurity in any of its forms, or greed: this would scarcely become the holy people of God! There must be no foul or salacious talk or coarse jokes -- all this is wrong for you; there should rather be thanksgiving. For you can be quite certain that nobody who indulges in sexual immorality or impurity or greed -- which is worshipping a false god -- can inherit the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is such behaviour that draws down God's retribution on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you do not throw in your lot with them. You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light,


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle Paul urges the Ephesians to be kind to one another and live mercy with the willingness to forgive one another as God has forgiven us. As we move towards the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of mercy, this exhortation of the Apostle reminds us of the underlying reason of mutual forgiveness, we must forgive others because we have been forgiven by God. In the Old Testament tradition, goodness, mercy and forgiveness are primarily attributes of God. They must now characterize the life of the Church and disciples. Communion with God requires that with brothers and sisters. The Apostle therefore urges the Ephesian Christians to be "imitators of God, as beloved children" and to live "in love". Once again he shows the reason for such behaviour: "Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us." It is the only time that this exhortation appears in the New Testament. But the idea of the imitation of God is not new; it is often used in the Bible and it means having as an ideal the behaviour that God has shown towards Israel: God’s action founded the ethical requirement. Jesus also is inserted in this divine perspective: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). Believers "live in love" (v. 2), for God is love. Even Jesus urges his disciples: "You love one another. Just I have loved you " (Jn 13:34; 15:12f.). Jesus loved us to the point of death which became a "sacrifice of sweet odour" that rises to God as ransom for all humankind. Paul takes up concrete exhortations, now centred on a defect often denounced by Jewish and then Christian polemics against paganism: fornication and its derivatives, impurity and greed. Paul says that all these behaviours must be removed from the life of Christians, even more, they should not even be mentioned for they affect the sanctity of Christians, that is, their belonging to God and not to themselves. Obscenity, i.e. unseemly and ambiguous talking, should be abolished too. All of these behaviours conceal an actual idolatry. Believers should not be deceived by those who reason foolishly. They are "disobedient", as those who have rejected God. Disciples are "children of light", children of the Gospel: "Now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light." This is the link between the gift received and the engagement that results. We therefore cannot remain in the darkness of resignation and egocentrism. "Sleeper, awake!" - writes Paul - "Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you," and to the Romans: "Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far-gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light"(Rom 13:11-12). Christians are called to be bathed by the light of the Risen Christ and to transform the world by defeating the insidious temptation to give in to the power of evil. This is why, we must not behave like reckless people, that is like people who have lost the understanding of the Gospel and forgotten the power of love. The admonition not to get drunk warns not to be stunned by the fashions of the world, but rather to be wise, filled with the Spirit that prompts us to express our joy in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

Memory of the Poor