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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 10, 1-32

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise child is a father's joy, a foolish child a mother's grief.

Treasures wickedly come by give no benefit, but uprightness brings delivery from death.

Yahweh does not let the upright go hungry, but he thwarts the greed of the wicked.

A slack hand brings poverty, but the hand of the diligent brings wealth.

Reaping at harvest-time is the mark of the prudent, sleeping at harvest-time is the sign of the worthless.

Blessings are on the head of the upright, but the mouth of the godless is a cover for violence.

The upright is remembered with blessings, the name of the wicked rots away.

The wise of heart takes orders, but a gabbling fool heads for ruin.

Anyone whose ways are honourable walks secure, but whoever follows crooked ways is soon unmasked.

A wink of the eye brings trouble, a bold rebuke brings peace.

The mouth of the upright is a life-giving fountain, but the mouth of the godless is a cover for violence.

Hatred provokes disputes, but love excuses all offences.

On the lips of the discerning is found wisdom, on the back of a fool, the stick.

Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool makes ruin imminent.

The wealth of the rich is their stronghold, poverty is the undoing of the weak.

The wage of the upright affords life, but sin is all the wicked earns.

Whoever abides by discipline, walks towards life, whoever ignores correction goes astray.

Liars' lips are a cover for hatred, whoever utters slander is a fool.

A flood of words is never without fault; whoever controls the lips is wise.

The tongue of the upright is purest silver, the heart of the wicked is of trumpery value.

The lips of the upright nourish many peoples, but fools die for want of sense.

The blessing of Yahweh is what brings riches, to this, hard toil has nothing to add.

A fool takes pleasure in doing wrong, the intelligent in cultivating wisdom.

What the wicked fears overtakes him, what the upright desires comes to him as a present.

When the storm is over, the wicked is no more, but the upright stands firm for ever.

As vinegar to the teeth, smoke to the eyes, so the sluggard to the one who sends him.

The fear of Yahweh adds length to life, the years of the wicked will be cut short.

The hope of the upright is joy, the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

The way of Yahweh is a rampart for the honest, for evil-doers nothing but ruin.

The upright will never have to give way, but the land will offer no home for the wicked.

The mouth of the upright utters wisdom, the tongue that deceives will be cut off.

The lips of the upright know about kindness, the mouth of the wicked about deceit.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With chapter ten begins a second collection of Proverbs, less uniform than the first. It ends at chapter 22, verse 16. The title "The Proverbs of Solomon" is obviously fictitious, but it indicates the authority of what follows. Chapter ten contains a series of independent proverbs. Nonetheless, we can find a key to understanding them in the frequent use of the word "righteous," which appears thirteen times, while "righteousness" is used in verse 2. The text focuses on opposing the "righteous" to the wicked and impious. First of all, "righteousness delivers from death," and God does not let the righteous suffer hunger. This means that God protects the life of the righteous, those who are faithful to the word of God, who listen to it and observe it rather than following themselves. The Lord blesses them; that is, he gives them his friendship, so that their lives will be a blessing for others: "Blessings are on the head of the righteous...The memory of the righteous is a blessing." On the other hand, those who do evil become violent, and their names are forgotten. On several occasions the righteous are spoken of as people who are fountains of life, with their mouths, (which means, by their speaking) but also with their money. The text repeatedly focuses on the mouth and the lips of the righteous. Speaking can do great harm to others, but it also can do much good. The Bible often returns to the importance of speaking as the way to dialogue and encounter. God himself chose it as the way to communicate with humanity. How often in our daily lives do we harm others with our words, when we judge them malevolently, speak badly, criticize, or let ourselves give in to gossip, arguments, and useless and stupid anger. This is why the mouth and the tongue of the righteous are "choice silver" (v. 20), "feed many" (v. 21), "bring forth wisdom," (v. 31), "know what is acceptable" (v. 32), and are a fountain of wisdom. On the contrary, the tongue of those who grow accustomed to evil produces foolishness and "conceals violence" (vv. 6, 11). There is a violence in speaking that impedes friendship and our ability to live together, and we can grow accustomed to it and accept it as normal. This sometimes is the great foolishness of everyday life, in which we believe we are righteous but do not act righteously.

Sunday Vigil