Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memory of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr (+258). He reorganized the service to the poor in Rome. Prayer for the poor and for those who serve them in the name of the Gospel.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 18, 15-20

'If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: whatever the misdemeanour, the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain the charge.

But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a gentile or a tax collector.

'In truth I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

'In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven.

For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage reminds us that fraternal correction and forgiveness—which are two central dimensions in the life of the Christian community—require much attention and sensitivity. There is, indeed, a manner of not saying things to others, which may appear to be respectful, but is actually indifferent. Every believer has the duty to correct his or her brother or sister when he or she makes a mistake, just as everyone has the right to be forgiven when he or she has erred. Unfortunately, we live in a society that is losing its sense of forgiveness. And this is happening because it has lost, first of all, its debt of love for one another that the Lord has asked us to have. The Word of God questions us profoundly so that this mentality, so often hard and sad, may change. In a world that is interdependent as well as competitetive, like the one in which we live, we need to learn that we need to make ourselves slaves to love for one another in order to be truly free and to construct a dignified society. The utopia of an integral respect of the rights of every man and woman depends on everyone assuming one, essential duty: to respect the other’s right to be loved. This right is woven into the foundation of human coexistence that is fully free from many internal and external threats. The unity of the disciples who pray together gives us the clearest image of this living together. Jesus says to them: "Truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." These are demanding words, more for God than for us. The agreement between disciples in asking for the same thing, whatever it may be, binds God to give it. This is the meaning of Jesus’ words. Concord in prayer, agreement on a united will consitutes an immense power. If our prayers are not heard, then we need to examine ourselves in how we are praying to see if it is polluted by individualism or cold attitudes. How often our prayer is marked by laziness and lack love for the problems and anguish of the entire community and the world around us. And how many are waiting for the charity of an invocation that nobody grants! With spiritual wisdom John Paul II spoke of his prayer as being bound to "geography," that is to the needs of the countries he had visited. The heart of Christian prayer is as large as the world.