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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

Luke 12, 49-53

'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!

There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!

'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three;

father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the same time that Jesus exhorts his disciples to vigilance, he tells them that the moment of decision has come. With him has come the end times and one can no longer put off the choice for the Gospel. To help the disciples clearly understand his apostolic concerns, Jesus uses the image of fire that he himself will cast on the Earth: “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” The book of Revelation takes up this theme again when it refers to the angel who will come at the end of time and cast fire on the Earth (8:5). Jesus wants the disciples to let go of any lazy, tardy, cold and closed attitudes and to welcome the same sort of concern that he has: he will not be able to rest until the flame of love burns in the hearts of men and women. In that way, the disciples are not called to a greedy and easy life, concerned only with taking care of themselves and their group. How many men and women feel that their salvation lies in their own personal well-being and in the ease of worrying only about their own personal happiness! Yet the disciples live another dimension, another tension. They immerge themselves in the Gospel—as if they were baptized (indeed, “immersed”) in the Gospel—pushed by the urgency to communicate it to men and women so that they be saved from loneliness and death. Following the Gospel involves the disciples’ entire lives; they are as if consumed by it. Following Jesus calls for a separation from the old life based on the bonds of the flesh. Our blood relations are obviously important but they do not constitute salvation in and of themselves. Only the Gospel is the fire that saves and that changes the world starting with a change of heart in every one of us. Paul says in Ephesians, “Christ is our peace (2:14) and Jesus himself said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” In this case, there is no contradiction between peace and the sword. The peace that Jesus brings is not of this world (John 14:27); Jesus’ peace is not miserly tranquillity or safety in one’s familiar ways. In order to enjoy the peace that comes from the Gospel, purification through fire is necessary, so that the bad from the good may separate, and one may discern between the light that Jesus brings in the world and the shadows of evil. Peace is a gift and an achievement; it is a welcoming of the Gospel and an abandonment of egocentrism.

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