Memory of Jesus crucified
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Memory of Jesus crucified

Memorial of Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, a martyr. He was killed on March 24, 1980, during the celebration of the Eucharist in El Salvador in 1980. Memorial of the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine that took place in Rome in 1944, in which the Nazis killed 335 people. Read more

Memory of Jesus crucified
Friday, March 24

Memorial of Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, a martyr. He was killed on March 24, 1980, during the celebration of the Eucharist in El Salvador in 1980. Memorial of the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine that took place in Rome in 1944, in which the Nazis killed 335 people.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Wisdom 2,1.12-22

And this is the false argument they use, 'Our life is short and dreary, there is no remedy when our end comes, no one is known to have come back from Hades. Let us lay traps for the upright man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us for our sins against the Law, and accuses us of sins against our upbringing. He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. We see him as a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down; for his kind of life is not like other people's, and his ways are quite different. In his opinion we are counterfeit; he avoids our ways as he would filth; he proclaims the final end of the upright as blessed and boasts of having God for his father. Let us see if what he says is true, and test him to see what sort of end he will have. For if the upright man is God's son, God will help him and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies. Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his patience to the test. Let us condemn him to a shameful death since God will rescue him -- or so he claims.' This is the way they reason, but they are misled, since their malice makes them blind. They do not know the hidden things of God, they do not hope for the reward of holiness, they do not believe in a reward for blameless souls.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The sacred author puts into the mouths of the "wicked" an accusation against the "righteous ones," thus manifesting the evil that often descends upon believers and makes their lives more difficult. The testimony and martyrdom of Monsignor Romero are an example of this persecution that still comes down against Christians because they are a 'stumbling block' to the dominant culture. Anything that stands in the way from reaching profit for the rich and the strong against the poor and the weak should be eliminated, even with violence. The testimony of the "righteous ones" is a living contradiction against this kind of existence; their mere presence annoys and even becomes unbearable. In this biblical passage the growing hatred against believers is described; from tending the snares to the insult, and finally to the project of condemnation to death, in a blasphemous challenge against God himself. It is easy to see here the face of Jesus, the righteous one who suffers and dies because of the wickedness of men overpowered by the evil spirit. Next to Jesus appear the faces of all those believers who still today are "persecuted for the sake of righteousness" (Mt 5:10). The author of the Letter to Diognetus-a very ancient Christian text dating from the times of persecution--writes that Christians "are in the world that which is the soul in the body ... The flesh hates the soul and fights against, without receiving any injury but only because the soul prevents it from enjoying pleasures; even the world hates Christians who have not done any wrong against it, but only because they oppose pleasures." Being "the soul of the world" means that only such love is breath of life.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9, 3:7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!