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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

Galatians 3,1-5

You stupid people in Galatia! After you have had a clear picture of Jesus Christ crucified, right in front of your eyes, who has put a spell on you? There is only one thing I should like you to tell me: How was it that you received the Spirit -- was it by the practice of the Law, or by believing in the message you heard? Having begun in the Spirit, can you be so stupid as to end in the flesh? Can all the favours you have received have had no effect at all -- if there really has been no effect? Would you say, then, that he who so lavishly sends the Spirit to you, and causes the miracles among you, is doing this through your practice of the Law or because you believed the message you heard?


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the first two chapters of the Letter, Paul defended his apostolic authority undermined by the insinuations of false teachers. After proving that both the apostolate and the Gospel were given to him directly by Christ, he defends the content of his message. And it does so by showing the fruits the Galatians have experienced in their own lives through the action of the Holy Spirit. What happened in them is not by works of the Law, but by the proclamation of the gospel. It is faith that allowed them to "experience so much" (3:4). For the Gospel is an effective word: it frees from sin and gives new life. Scriptures attest this incredible power of the Gospel. The apostle starts from the story of Abraham who was not justified by his deeds but by faith. Paul criticizes Christians harshly: "You foolish Galatians!" He really cares for the Galatians. He wants to defend them against foolishness; and he tells them that the Gospel has only one truth: the crucified Christ. Those who look at the Crucifix are preserved from foolishness because they understand the distance that separates them from such an extraordinary love as that of Jesus, a love so boundless that it urges him to die for us. In front of the mystery of this death, how can we think that our works save us? It is as though we could compare our petty deeds, with Jesus’ love for us. Who among us has loved to the point of dying on the cross? Paul warns that if we forget the preaching of Jesus Christ crucified, pride, and with it blindness, will prevail: we will see our works more than God’s overflowing love. The proclamation of the Gospel has made the deeds of Christians possible. The Holy Spirit poured into our hearts works in us and allows us to do "miracles." Jesus himself told his disciples: "The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these" (Jn 14:12). We should not be surprised at Jesus’ ambition for us. What is asked of us is to be guided by the Spirit so that in site of our smallness we will do great things. While he was led to Rome to receive martyrdom, St. Ignatius of Antioch said: "Christianity is not a matter of persuasion, but of greatness", precisely the "greater works" of love.

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