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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the patriarch Abraham. In faith he journeyed to a land that he did not know, but that was promised to him by God. Because of this faith, he is called the father of believers by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

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

Genesis 22,1-18

It happened some time later that God put Abraham to the test. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he called. 'Here I am,' he replied.

God said, 'Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall point out to you.'

Early next morning Abraham saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place which God had indicated to him.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.

Then Abraham said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there; we shall worship and then come back to you.'

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together.

Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. 'Father?' he said. 'Yes, my son,' he replied. 'Look,' he said, 'here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'

Abraham replied, 'My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.' And the two of them went on together.

When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood.

Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.

But the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he said. 'Here I am,' he replied.

'Do not raise your hand against the boy,' the angel said. 'Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your own beloved son.'

Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.

Abraham called this place 'Yahweh provides', and hence the saying today: 'On the mountain Yahweh provides.'

The angel of Yahweh called Abraham a second time from heaven.

'I swear by my own self, Yahweh declares, that because you have done this, because you have not refused me your own beloved son,

I will shower blessings on you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will gain possession of the gates of their enemies.

All nations on earth will bless themselves by your descendants, because you have obeyed my command.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Abraham is the father of our faith. In scripture, he stands as the figure of one who listens first to the voice of God, a voice that called him to leave his land and to go toward a place and a life he did know, but that the Lord had prepared for him. Abraham obeyed the voice and departed, leaving behind his father’s house. During his life he faced difficult moments and trials, such as the sacrifice of his only son, Isaac. God had promised Abraham an heir, and yet Abraham obeyed the Lord’s command: "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you." Human reason could not explain God’s command, but Abraham obeyed God rather than human logic and headed up the mountain Moriah with his son. Seeing Abraham’s radical faith, the Lord did not take his only son. Rather, God returned that son to him in faith and he became the first born of a multitude. For his faith, the Lord called and regarded Abraham as a "friend", so much so that the Lord was not able to hide from him his intention to destroy Sodom. And Abraham, as a friend of God, was able to intercede on the city’s behalf. Patriarch of all believers, Abraham comes to meet us at the beginning of this new millennium so that we, along with him, will readily obey God’s call with all of our heart.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets