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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 21, 20-28

'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise that it will soon be laid desolate.

Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it.

For this is the time of retribution when all that scripture says must be fulfilled.

Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!

'For great misery will descend on the land and retribution on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every gentile country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the gentiles until their time is complete.

'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves;

men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.

And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage speaks of Jerusalem’s destiny. Matthew and Mark announce only the end of the temple while Luke adds also the destruction of the holy city. The Church, allowing us to listen to this passage at the end of the liturgical year, wants us to meditate on the end of time. And it is good that we do so, or better, that we pay attention to the end toward which our earthly existences are headed. We do not walk in emptiness or overwhelmed by meaninglessness. The Word of God reveals to us the end of our lives: the Jerusalem in heaven. Yes, we walk with our eyes fixed toward the city of heaven where the Lord waits to embrace us together with all the saints. The image of the heavenly Jerusalem, is presented to us in the Apocalypse, underlines the reality that Christian salvation is not an individual matter, but rather, a community matter. Yes, the Lord does not save us one by one, individually, but as a community, a people, like, in fact, a city. Salvation for Christians is closely related with their commitment to the society and the city in which they live. Christian faith has a binding social dimension; that is, we do not save ourselves alone, but only if, driven by the Gospel, we seek to be “yeast” of love for the society of men and women; if we seek to make the light of the Gospel shine along the ways of the world; if we are “salt” that makes the life of men and women tasty and beautiful. The evangelical image of a trampled and destroyed Jerusalem leads us to think also about the situation of the actual Jerusalem, the city of three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We cannot forget it. For us too the words of the psalm are true: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth…” (Ps 137: 5-6). Her difficulties are ours too, and our prayer must not cease until she return to being “the city of peace,” as her name attests. In it we can see the celestial Jerusalem, where all peoples gather around the one God. The current disorder in the world and the “anguish of anxious peoples” which the evangelist describes with apocalyptic language, drives us, believers, to “raise ourselves up and raise our heads” because the Son of man is near. In fact, he has come to live among us so that the world will no longer remain under the yoke of evil and violence. He came to show us the way of peace. In a very particular way, the Lord entrusts us believers with the responsibility to show the world the beauty and strength of the Gospel of love and peace.

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