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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 9, 22-25

He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.'

Then, speaking to all, he said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.

Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.

What benefit is it to anyone to win the whole world and forfeit or lose his very self?


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Gospel passage in Luke, together with that in Deuteronomy (30:15-20), places us on the path of this Lenten season. The passage in Deuteronomy, which transmits part of Moses’ third speech to the people of Israel, places two paths before us, that of good and that of evil. The Lord greatly respects our liberty. He does not force us to do good, he proposes it because good can only be a product of love. And he tells us: "I place before you life and what’s good, death and evil." Yes, life consists in loving, while death is following what is evil. In fact, if we distance ourselves from God and his commandments, he warns us: "I declare that you will certainly perish." During this time it will be well to reflect on this responsibility that we all have: choosing the path of the good or that of evil. Even Jesus returns to this topic, in the Gospel passage we have heard. He says: "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it." All of us, naturally, try to think of ourselves and our self-affirmation. It is the evil instinct of love for oneself which is rooted in the heart of every human being. Such an instinct, which pushes us to think only of ourselves, is joined to lack of interest in others, and often even to hostility towards others, especially if we see them as possible enemies. Jesus warns: "What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?" Thirst for gain at any cost seems like a fever which never leaves us. It is like a constant fever which leads us to ruin. How many lives are sacrificed on the altar of profit? How many families, how many relationships are burned up for the primacy of profit! Jesus teaches another way. And he doesn’t teach it with words, but with his example. He goes to Jerusalem to save us, to love us, even if this choice means suffering and death, too. But "on the third day" he will rise to a new and full life. Jesus is not a powerful and strong Messiah as humans wanted him. He has come to give his life in ransom for all. His strength is not that of men but that of love, which knows no limits, not even the limit of love for oneself. And, turning to all who follow him, he explains what following the Gospel demands: getting away from one's own selfishness, giving up love only for ourselves, leaving behind the usual egocentric habits and taking up Jesus’ lifestyle, that is, not living for oneself anymore, but for the Lord and for others. This is what the exhortation means: "deny themselves and take up their own cross." It is the path of true profit. Those who want to preserve their own life, in other words, their usual habits, their own egocentric traditions, will lose it. Salvation does not consist in having so many things but in being generous of heart and passionate for the Gospel.

Memory of the Church

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday