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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 17, 1-11a

After saying this, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you;

so that, just as you have given him power over all humanity, he may give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.

And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.

Now, Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world existed.

I have revealed your name to those whom you took from the world to give me. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Now at last they have recognised that all you have given me comes from you

for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have indeed accepted it and know for certain that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.

It is for them that I pray. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.

All I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified.

I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel gives us the first part of the prayer Jesus makes to the Father at the end of his long speech to his disciples. Until now, his eyes had been on the little group of disciples, to whom he wanted to give his “spiritual testament.” Now - they are about to go out to the garden of olives - he lifts his eyes on high: he wants to meet his Father’s gaze. And he begins his long prayer with the term of address that is unique to him: “Father.” He had used this term on two other occasions: before the resurrection of Lazarus and when Philip presented the two Greek men to him. Jesus knows that his “hour” has come: the climax of his mission, the reason he had come to earth. And he asks the “Father” to “glorify him,” that is, to complete the mission for which the Father had sent him among men and women: to let the disciples share in eternal life. And he explains it thus: “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In effect, this had been Jesus’ work. Now he wants to present his disciples to the Father. The beginning of the prayer underlines the fact that the Father is the primary actor. He says to the Father: “They were yours, and you gave them to me,” as if to emphasize that the disciples were not chosen at random or according to someone’s preferences, not even his. Jesus chose the disciples after praying. That small group is the fruit of prayer. They are a gift of the Father. After all, Jesus says repeatedly that he came to do the Father’s will, not his own. And that is what he taught the disciples. He truly turned them towards his Father in heaven. And he says as much: “Now they know that everything you have given me is from you.” We could say that they have received the heart of the Gospel message: “They ... know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” Now they are the heirs of this revelation, which they in turn must communicate to others. Jesus is about to entrust them with his own work. He knows them well, one by one. He knows their good qualities but also their weaknesses, defects, and pettiness. His prayer to the Father is a prayer for them, “I am asking on their behalf.” Jesus’ spirit is heavy with thoughts and concerns. His greatest concern now is for his disciples, not for himself or for what awaits him. Before long, at Gethsemane, he will place his concerns about the cup he is to drink in the Father’s hands, completely entrusting himself to Him. But now his prayer is for that little group of disciples. And he commits them to the Father’s protection. Jesus knows that the prince of evil will make every effort to snatch them from the Gospel. Now that he is leaving this world, he wants the Father to be the one who will keep and protect them. It is a prayer that Jesus still makes today, in heaven, asking the Father to keep watch over all his disciples and free them from evil. It is the true “priestly” prayer for all people.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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