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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 18,21-24

Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, 'That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.

Never again in you will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels, the music of flute and trumpet; never again will craftsmen of every skill be found in you or the sound of the handmill be heard;

never again will shine the light of the lamp in you, never again will be heard in you the voices of bridegroom and bride. Your traders were the princes of the earth, all the nations were led astray by your sorcery.

In her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and all the blood that was ever shed on earth.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

A powerful angel symbolically enacts the end of imperial Babylon by hurling a millstone into the sea. The city, perhaps imperial Rome, sinks into the vortex of the Mediterranean with all of its baggage of sin. Turned in on its idolatries, the great metropolis did not hear the footsteps of the supreme Judge and the angel of death that were waiting at its gates. Blinded by its pride, the city had been stained by the most brutal of crimes: "in you was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slaughtered on earth" (v. 24). The angel’s symbolic act echoes what Jeremiah did when he read the scroll containing the charges against Babylon and threw it into the Euphrates, shouting, "Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more..." (51:60-64). Jesus himself had used the symbol of a millstone tied to the neck and thrown into the sea to indicate the fate of those who caused scandal (Mt 18:6). In effect, Babylon had truly "scandalized" (in Greek "scandal" means "stumbling block") many people and corrupted many nations with its "sorcery." And now it suffers the same fate as the satanic dragon (12:9, 10, 13), the two Beasts (19:20), the devil (20:10), death (20:15), and all those who are not written in God’s "book of life" (20:15): they are all hurled into the depths of nothingness, the depths of hell and silence. If we do not break the bonds that tie us to evil, we run the risk of being caught in its snares and sharing its fate, which is death. The last look at Babylon reveals a panorama of extreme desolation. The city that was once prosperous and lively is now devoid of life. Six times the angel marks the silence of death that like a veil covers the city completely: the music, the sounds, and the joyous voices are extinguished forever.

Memory of Jesus crucified