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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Memory also of Ananias, who baptized Paul, preached the Gospel and died a martyr. Pope John XXIII announces the decision to celebrate the Second Vatican Council. Today the week of prayer for the unity of Christians ends. Prayer for the unity of Christians.  Particular memory of Christian communities in Asia and Oceania.

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

Tobit 3,1-6

Then, sad at heart, I sighed and wept, and began this prayer of lamentation:

You are just, O Lord, and just are all your works. All your ways are grace and truth, and you are the Judge of the world.

Therefore, Lord, remember me, look on me. Do not punish me for my sins or for my needless faults or those of my ancestors.

For we have sinned against you and broken your commandments; and you have given us over to be plundered, to captivity and death, to be the talk, the laughing-stock and scorn of all the nations among whom you have dispersed us.

And now all your decrees are true when you deal with me as my faults deserve, and those of my ancestors. For we have neither kept your commandments nor walked in truth before you.

So now, do with me as you will; be pleased to take my life from me; so that I may be delivered from earth and become earth again. Better death than life for me, for I have endured groundless insult and am in deepest sorrow. Lord, be pleased to deliver me from this affliction. Let me go away to my everlasting home; do not turn your face from me, O Lord. Better death for me than life prolonged in the face of unrelenting misery: I can no longer bear to listen to insults.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Worn out by pain, Tobit does not turn in on himself, but lifts his voice to God in a sorrowful prayer. It is the first of the five prayers presented in the book of Tobit. Tobit begins with words of praise for the Lord, his justice, and his mercy. Tobit not only does not doubt God’s mercy, he exalts it. He asks God to turn his gaze towards him and to have mercy on him for his sins and those of his ancestors, which have caused so much tragedy and pain. The echoes of many pages of Scripture can be recognized in Tobit’s stern words. They are an example of how the words of Scripture can help us turn to the Lord in prayer. And it is significant that Tobit moves from the first person singular to the first person plural over the course of his prayer, identifying his own fate with the larger story of his people. This horizon should always be present in the prayer of believers. They are never alone before God, but always tied to a people, the community to which they belong and for which they should always invoke the Lord’s help and protection. The eyes of faith make Tobit see that the sad condition in which he and God’s own people find themselves is due to the fact that they have strayed away from God and his laws. Overcome by desperation, Tobit asks God to grant him death rather than leaving him in the situation into which he had fallen, just as Moses (Num 11:15), Elijah (1 Kings 19:14), and Jonah (Jon 4:3. 8) did before him; for "great is the sorrow within me" (v. 6), he says. On the contrary, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus will ask the Father to take the bitter cup of death away from him, but he trusts in His will entirely. Tobit’s request to be released to go to the "eternal home" simply means going to the tomb where he would stay forever. Nonetheless, Tobit asks the Lord: "Do not, O Lord, turn your face away from me." This request will find its full answer in the revelation of the resurrection announced to us by Jesus, first through his words and then through the events of Easter.

Memory of the Poor