Prayer for peace

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The prayer for peace is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


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

Matthew 5,38-42

'You have heard how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if someone wishes to go to law with you to get your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The ancient law that prescribed "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," wanted to regulate an unending cycle of implacable vengeance. It was an attempt to remove every abuse, instead of uprooting hatred. With his teaching Jesus goes a lot deeper: he wants to destroy the inherent roots of vengeance and stop the unstoppable cycle of violence. Jesus says that evil cannot be governed, it should be eradicated. This is the only way to defeat it. The way that is proposed by Jesus is super-abundant love. Evil cannot be overcome by evil, even if regulated, but only by a more generous good. With these statements, Jesus turned the mentality of his time and of today upside down and asks the disciples not only to banish vengeance from their behaviour but even to turn the other cheek. Jesus does not want to favour a submissive attitude toward evil, rather he wants to propose a new way of struggle that is opposed to any culture of violence and death. He came to bring to men and women was a new way of life centred on love. His commitment to liberate men and women from the slavery of evil is the very reason of his incarnation. Those who let themselves be guided by love defat evil and they offer even their coat to the one who asks them; they are ready to accompany someone even twice as many miles as they are asked, and they do not turn their back to the one who asks for help. With love, we chase away evil from the start and we open the way to a dignified life.