Prayer for peace

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The prayer for peace is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Prayer for unity of Christians. Particular memory of the Churches of the Anglican communion.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 5,1-10

Every high priest is taken from among human beings and is appointed to act on their behalf in relationships with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or who have gone astray, because he too is subject to the limitations of weakness. That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honour on himself; it needs a call from God, as in Aaron's case. And so it was not Christ who gave himself the glory of becoming high priest, but the one who said to him: You are my Son, today I have fathered you, and in another text: You are a priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek. During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, with loud cries and with tears, to the one who had the power to save him from death, and, winning a hearing by his reverence, he learnt obedience, Son though he was, through his sufferings; when he had been perfected, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus - the letter underlines - has all the qualifications required by the Biblical tradition to be high priest, and so he can stand before God and "to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." As a member of the people, the high priest is aware of his own weakness. And this permits him to have compassion on everyone and to intercede for everyone's as well as his own. But with Jesus we are on a different plane: he is the "great high priest," because he was established as high priest by God himself. He did not "glorify himself in becoming high priest," but it was given to him by the one who told him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." He was chosen by God as Aaron was chosen. God is at the origin of everything that is truly religious. In Jesus, God brings to completion the priestly ministry that he had only begun with Aaron. And Jesus began exercising this priesthood here on earth, "in the days of his flesh," offering "up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death." The author underlines the absolute gratuity of God's love for us: "Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered." Compassion is at the heart of this mystery of love: he came among us to save us. Like every priest, he was "chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." The extraordinary thing about this mystery is that, while every other priest chosen from among mortals is marked by sin, Jesus, who is immune from it, is established as a priest by God so that we might all be freed from sin. And all this for love. Jesus' extraordinary "piety" continues to open heaven for us.