Prayer for peace

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The prayer for Christian unity begins. Particular memory of the Catholic Church.
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

Mark 2,18-22

John's disciples and the Pharisees were keeping a fast, when some people came to him and said to him, 'Why is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?' Jesus replied, 'Surely the bridegroom's attendants cannot fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine into fresh skins!'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist speaks of the disciples of John the Baptist and of the Pharisees who, as it always happens to those who consider themselves righteous, felt entitled to turn to Jesus to ask him the reason why his disciples were not observing the fast that, although not mandatory, elevated the spirit. Their criticism, in truth, is directed more to the teacher than the disciples. In parabolic language, Jesus answers that it is not the external practices that make the heart pure and the life of people clean. The pure are those who welcome the Messiah, the one sent by God, as one welcomes the bridegroom, therefore with an atmosphere of celebration. Jesus obviously intended for them to understand that he was the bridegroom who had come. And when the groom arrive, his friends cannot fast. Fasting would be seen as impolite towards the groom, who expects friends who celebrate and take part to the wedding banquet. Certainly not penitential fasting. However, Jesus warns that even the friends of the bridegroom will go through difficult times, especially when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then will be the time of fasting. Though, not openly Jesus announces his passion and death. That is when the time of suffering will come. Indeed it is what has happened from the beginning of Christianity to the present day with innumerable believers, men and women, who have been persecuted because of their faith and resisted to the point of shedding their blood. With two images, Jesus makes it clear that disciples should renew their entire life. The Gospel is the new wine that makes the hearts of those who drink it new - that is celebrating to the excess. The hearts of those who are full of themselves are like old wineskins and they are not able to welcome the Gospel newness. The new cloth of which Jesus speaks is the new mantle that is woven with the fabric of love, which has nothing to do with the old and tattered piece of cloth of one's egocentrism. The disciples understood that salvation is not in boasting about one's own works, even good ones such as fasting, but in loving Jesus above all else, as the bride loves her husband.