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The Everyday Prayer

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

Feast of the nativity of Mary, mother of the Lord. Today the Franciscan tradition remembers Francis’ visit of peace to Damietta to speak with the sultan Malek-al-Kamel. Prayer so that workers of peace and dialogue may arise.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 1, 1-16.18-23

Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,

Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,

Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,

Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse;

and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,

Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,

Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,

Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,

Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah;

and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,

Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,

Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob;

and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally.

He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.

She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.'

Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:

Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us'.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The feast that we celebrate today is shared by the Eastern and Western Churches. September 8 is the date of the dedication of the basilica of Saint Anne in Jerusalem, built where, according to ancient tradition, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne had resided. In the Byzantine Church it is said that Mary is the "land of heaven", that is, the womb offered by humanity to the Lord. It is in this context that we should understand the Gospel passage that we have just heard, the genealogy of Jesus, to which we can add the following passage about Joseph’s perplexity. The list of names demonstrates how the whole of humanity was waiting for the birth of the Word in Mary’s womb. It is not a dry list. The series of names signifies that Jesus does not live outside of the history of men and women (it is not an accident that the evangelist includes representatives of paganism and less-than exemplary women in the list). Jesus exists within human history; he is part of our generations. He was born of a woman, Mary, whom God chose to be the mother of his son. The Gospel then underlines that Jesus’ birth is a truly extraordinary event that goes beyond all rules. This is seen in Joseph’s reaction, which from a human perspective, is totally justified. But the angel reveals to him in a dream the reality of what is happening. The Word of God makes us see beyond what we see (this is the meaning of "dreams" in Scripture) and helps us take Mary (the community) and the mystery she contains with us. Joseph gets up and does what the angel told him. Let us join in the prayer of the West-Syrian Church, which today sings, "O Christ our God, let us all rejoice as the just Joachim and Anne rejoiced at the birth of the Virgin your Mother. Give us the joy of the forgiveness of our sins and the remission of our guilt. May this feast bring us spiritual joys and peace. May we be healed of our evils and may the light of your wisdom shine on our souls. May this day shine with the promise of a bright and favourable future. Transform our inner person and let us walk with the angels to the end."

Memory of the Church