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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Thessalonians 4, 1-12

Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus; we instructed you how to live in the way that pleases God, and you are so living; but make more progress still.

You are well aware of the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

God wills you all to be holy. He wants you to keep away from sexual immorality,

and each one of you to know how to control his body in a way that is holy and honourable,

not giving way to selfish lust like the nations who do not acknowledge God.

He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters; the Lord always pays back sins of that sort, as we told you before emphatically.

God called us to be holy, not to be immoral;

in other words, anyone who rejects this is rejecting not human authority, but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

As for brotherly love, there is no need to write to you about that, since you have yourselves learnt from God to love one another,

and in fact this is how you treat all the brothers throughout the whole of Macedonia. However, we do urge you, brothers, to go on making even greater progress

and to make a point of living quietly, attending to your own business and earning your living, just as we told you to,

so that you may earn the respect of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul begins this part of the letter invoking Jesus’ authority. In his name he demonstrates what "pleases God" (4:1), what is the "will of God" (4:3; 5:18). He presents the exhortation as a prayer; this is how decisive he considers it to be. The Thessalonians already know how to behave in a way pleasing to God: the apostle himself had shown them when he had been with them, by example and by teaching. They should persevere on this path, indeed; excel all the more as they walk it, until they are holy. God’s will is that we be holy, that is, that we belong wholly to Him, therefore far from the world and loosed from its bonds. Already in the Old Testament God required holiness: "For I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. ... For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; you shall be holy, for I am holy" (Lev 11:44 ff). What God wants of us has never been more validly formulated. In the New Testament, however, holiness no longer consists of sacrificial offerings or the observance of laws, as the Jews thought, but rather in receiving the Holy Spirit into one’s own heart. In this way, the believers are transformed into new beings who live and conduct themselves according to the Spirit. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to behave in ways that respect the dignity of one’s own body and the sanctity of marriage. It is necessary to leave behind the pagan-like mentality which makes us slaves of ourselves and of our own instincts. He then warns against thirst for gain and the covetousness that leads one to drown out others and humiliate them. God, the apostle writes, "Did not call us to impurity but in holiness" (4:7), in other words, to abandon egocentric and violent behaviours in order to turn to God. Therefore, those who disdain such precepts disdain God himself, while those who remain in "holiness" dwell in love. This is why the apostle writes, "Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more," (4:9-10). If love is the Spirit poured out by God into the hearts of the believers, the Spirit himself is the teacher within who guides every disciple. Brotherly love, in fact, is not a human precept; it is the new commandment which Jesus gave to the disciples of every age as the distinctive sign of their relationship with him. And it is a gift which should be lived in an even broader way. No one can rest on the laurels of the love he already has; this begs to grow and expand. The apostle finally exhorts the Thessalonians to lead a serene life, one given over to the will of God, and to mark themselves out by a life that is "proper" vis-à-vis strangers. The statement in Acts regarding the first Christians of Jerusalem comes to mind, they "had the goodwill of all the people" (Acts 2:47). We can take to heart Paul’s other exhortation to the Corinthians: "Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved" (1 Cor 10:32 ff).

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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