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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Ambrose (+ 397), bishop of Milan. Pastor of his people, he remained strong in the face of the emperor’s arrogance.

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

Matthew 18,12-14

'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? In truth I tell you, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The words of the Gospel we just heard present the good shepherd, whose primary virtue is mercy. The Lord asks: "What happens when a sheep goes astray?" In truth, he wants to tell us what He does when a sheep goes astray. Jesus says that the shepherd, that is he himself and with him the disciples of every time, leaves the others and to go and search for the missing sheep until he finds it. Jesus gives no consideration to any fault of the sheep’s; he only mentions the responsibility of the shepherd. The fact that a sheep strayed, even just one, does not diminish the shepherd’s care for it; indeed, it increases it. The evangelist adds that if he happens to find it - unfortunately, the search does not always end well - "he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray." Leaving behind the parable, Jesus clarifies that the Father’s will is for none of the sheep to be lost. In fact, he sent his own Son for this very purpose, to find those who were lost. This is the deepest meaning of Christmas that we are about to celebrate. In clear opposition to the carelessness with which we treat one another, the Lord takes care of everyone, beginning with those who have strayed. God’s gaze comes to rest on each and every person, and he takes care of them all. Love of this quality, love that truly knows no limits or boundaries, is what needs to reign supreme in the life of the Christian community. This is how every disciple should care for each one of his brothers and sisters. And it is this kind of love that gives rise to the joy and festivity of fraternity. When we listen to these words of the Gospel we cannot but wonder about the quality of our love and that of our Christian communities. How many people grow weak and wander away, and no one takes care of them! Jesus, the good shepherd, calls us back to the primacy of love for others, especially for the weak and those who let themselves be overwhelmed by sin.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday