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The Everyday Prayer


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


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

Revelation 7,1-8

Next I saw four angels, standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the world to keep them from blowing over the land or the sea or any tree.

Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea,

'Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.'

And I heard how many had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand had been sealed; from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand;

from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand;

from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand;

from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand; and from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand had been sealed.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With the opening of the sixth seal, the apostle has a new vision: he sees four angels who stand at the four corners of the earth (in ancient cosmology the earth was thought of as square) to hold back the winds. It is as if they are keeping the day of "great wrath" from being unleashed. Immediately another angel appears - the angel with the seal, who comes from the East and postpones the "end." We could say that God’s mercy postpones the "end" in order to save all those destined for salvation from the destructive work of the evil one. Before the "end," the Lord sends the angel to mark the forehead of all those who are to be saved with his sign, the "tav," the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet that generally was used in place of a signature. It is God’s "signature" on his children: the power of evil can no longer touch them. Ezekiel prophesised about this when he mentioned the mark (the "tav") that was to be placed on the foreheads of the Israelites who had not bowed down to idolatry during the tragic time of Jerusalem’s destruction (Ez 9:4): they would be saved. John then sees the first group of people who are to be "marked." They come from all twelve tribes of Israel. The complex figure of one hundred and forty-four thousand is symbolic: it signifies fullness, perfection, and totality. We could compare this first group to the people of the first covenant: God has chosen them as his own forever. This is the mystery of the salvation of the people of Israel. From this perspective, Christians and Jews can wait together for the Messiah who will save us from the power of Evil and bring us into the heaven of full and definitive peace.


10/20/2010
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets


Calendar of the week
FEB
19
Sunday, 19 February
Liturgy of the Sunday
FEB
20
Monday, 20 February
Prayer for peace
FEB
21
Tuesday, 21 February
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
FEB
22
Wednesday, 22 February
Memory of the Apostles
FEB
23
Thursday, 23 February
Memory of the Church
FEB
24
Friday, 24 February
Memory of Jesus crucified
FEB
25
Saturday, 25 February
Sunday Vigil
FEB
26
Sunday, 26 February
Liturgy of the Sunday