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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 20,1-10

Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain.

He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years.

He hurled him into the Abyss and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not lead the nations astray again until the thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.

Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judgement. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God's word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brand-mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over; this is the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with him for a thousand years.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison

and will come out to lead astray all the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and mobilise them for war, his armies being as many as the sands of the sea.

They came swarming over the entire country and besieged the camp of the saints, which is the beloved City. But fire rained down on them from heaven and consumed them.

Then the devil, who led them astray, was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not come to an end, day or night, for ever and ever.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Beast and his army have been conquered, but Satan still needs to be defeated. And John can finally see him, the ancient tempter, thrown into the bottomless pit and bound with chains. It is against Satan that the strength of Christ is directed, not against men and women. There is no more hope for him, but for women and men, for every woman and for every man, there is. In fact, it is his desire not to lose a single one that pushes the Word to come to earth and engage in the final battle against Satan. We have not yet reached the final annihilation. The author speaks of a thousand years, a prospect that has given rise to many difficulties of interpretation throughout history. It is obviously a symbolic number, and the most common interpretation sees it as the time of the Church, from Pentecost to the ultimate fulfilment of the Kingdom. We could say that the thousand years represent the "already" of victory and the "not yet" of its fullness. During this arc of time, evil has not been annihilated; it is as if it has been bound with chains but can still function. Victory over evil does not come in an instant but is achieved through the daily struggle of the just, sustained by Christ. Those who give witness to their faith during this time receive the "first resurrection", that is, they are with Christ and they reign with him in beatitude. The final battle between Good and Evil occurs at the end of time (at the conclusion of the thousand years), but its outcome was already explained in chapter 19, verses 11 to 21. In one final assault, Satan will try to gather together all of his devotees from all the earth to besiege the just. But a fire from heaven destroys them. So begins the final judgment, carried out by God himself. The whole of humanity passes before Him; every person is judged according to what is written in the heavenly books, where the lies of earthly criteria are overturned. And those who have followed the way of love will hear, "I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink." Every work of charity, even one that is small, is enough for someone to be written in the "book of life."

Memory of the Poor