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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome during Nero’s persecution

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

James 4, 7-12

Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you.

The nearer you go to God, the nearer God will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers.

Appreciate your wretchedness, and weep for it in misery. Your laughter must be turned to grief, your happiness to gloom.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who slanders a brother, or condemns one, is speaking against the Law and condemning the Law. But if you condemn the Law, you have ceased to be subject to it and become a judge over it.

There is only one lawgiver and he is the only judge and has the power to save or to destroy. Who are you to give a verdict on your neighbour?


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

God gives grace to those who are humble. From this reality, James draws the following exhortation: "Submit yourselves therefore to God." The consequence is clear: we need to resist the devil, the spirit of division and enmity, and so drive him far from us; we need to grow closer to God so that he may get closer to us. The communion of love, the covenant between God and humanity, is rebuilt in humility. The antithesis world/God deepens in the antithesis devil/God. The world and the devil are expressions of the spirit of enmity and division, whereas God represents the spirit of unity in all creation that, when welcomed, allows us to live in friendship. The movement of getting farther from or closer to God introduces the following exhortation that has a ritual tone: "Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection." Cleansing our hands, mourning, and weeping are requests that express the need to come closer to God with the necessary humility and contrition. This is the only way that human beings can live in communion with the Lord. James, an expert of the tradition of Israel and of Scripture, uses a language that may help all his listeners, Jews as well, to apply to themselves what they already knew of the scriptures and of the cult to the temple. Verse 10 concludes and seals the reasoning: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." Again James appeals to humility as the fundamental attitude to live in communion with God and not with violence among people. As Jesus pointed out several times, God brings down the proud and exalts the humble (cf. Lk 51-52), for "all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" (Lk 14:11). James puts us on guard against speaking evil of one another, bickering, making spiteful judgments, defaming, and slandering. These behaviours stem from being distant from God and wanting to take God’s place, or at least to be the centre of attention. We know how easy it is to judge even if only the splinter in the eye of the other. James speaks clearly to those who foolishly fall into this proud and spiteful attitude: "So who, then, are you to judge your neighbour?" He reminds us that love of God and neighbour is the essence of the law and the way to salvation. We are always free to love, because we are free from the prison of judgments that pollute our heart and make us unable to love others because they deform them and keep them at a distance.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday