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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 13, 7-17

Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, take their faith as your model.

Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.

Do not be led astray by all sorts of strange doctrines: it is better to rely on grace for inner strength than on food, which has done no good to those who concentrate on it.

We have our own altar from which those who serve the Tent have no right to eat.

The bodies of the animals whose blood is taken into the sanctuary by the high priest for the rite of expiation are burnt outside the camp,

and so Jesus too suffered outside the gate to sanctify the people with his own blood.

Let us go to him, then, outside the camp, and bear his humiliation.

There is no permanent city for us here; we are looking for the one which is yet to be.

Through him, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, the fruit of the lips of those who acknowledge his name.

Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are the kinds of sacrifice that please God.

Obey your leaders and give way to them; they watch over your souls because they must give an account of them; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief -- you yourselves would be the losers.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

These verses reflect the author’s concern for those responsible for the community. Conscious that the unity of the community also depends on the one who is in charge of guiding it, the author exhorts Christians to “remember” who has the task of “proclaiming the word of God.” The apostle Paul writes that faith depends on hearing. This is why Christians are called to listen to the preacher and to receive and welcome his words in their hearts. If those who preach are responsible before God for how they exercise this ministry, believers are responsible for how they listen. For this reason the exhortation to “remember” the leaders of the community is never more opportune: it is to treasure their preaching, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” It is also an exhortation to imitate them in faith and to accompany them with prayer, help, and support, so that with care they can carry out their ministry. In the Christian community, for that matter, authority represents not itself, but the Lord, who is the “head” of the body, the Church. Obedience, therefore, remains key in the lives of believers: this obedience frees from the slavery of opinions, one’s own or others. The author then turns to clarify certain provisions related to forbidden “food.” Perhaps there were rituals to indicate certain foods that were to be excluded lest they contaminate the spirit with evil matter (see 1 Tim 4:3). To other foods, however, was attributed a heavenly nature, endowed with special powers. The Letter strongly disagrees with these opinions. The Christian gains “a heart … strengthened” not with food, but with listening to the Gospel. So no one should think that they can attain salvation by savouring “holy” food: whoever wants to enter into the “city that is to come” must take part in the “abuse” of Christ, in his passion. In fact, living the Christian life is not based on a set of rules, including rituals, but on abandoning the logic of sin and accepting the love of Christ. Thus we enter the promised Kingdom. And alms-giving becomes part of this logic of love. It may appear to be a small way of helping, but it is a concrete gesture to go out from oneself and to remove oneself from the logic of the world: you start by opening your hands and continue by opening your heart to those who need help and love.

Memory of the Church

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