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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Nicholas († 350). He was a bishop in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and is venerated throughout the East.

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

Romans 1, 18-32

The retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth.

For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them:

ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse:

they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened.

While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid

that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things.

That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies-

because they exchanged God's truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions:

why their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices; and the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion.

In other words, since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their unacceptable thoughts and indecent behaviour.

And so now they are steeped in all sorts of injustice, rottenness, greed and malice; full of envy, murder, wrangling, treachery and spite,

libellers, slanderers, enemies of God, rude, arrogant and boastful, enterprising in evil, rebellious to parents,

without brains, honour, love or pity.

They are well aware of God's ordinance: that those who behave like this deserve to die -- yet they not only do it, but even applaud others who do the same.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

L’apostolo condanna duramente l’idolatria che con-duce ad allontanarsi da Dio e a condurre una vita per-versa. Gli uomini, ogni volta che vivono come se Dio non esistesse, cadono nel baratro della violenza e del-la barbarie. Molte volte i profThe apostle strongly condemns idolatry, which leads to distancing oneself from God and leading a perverse life. Whenever people live as though God does not exist, they fall into the chasm of violence and barbarism. At great length the prophets and the Psalms speak of people distancing themselves from God as the reason for the world’s corruption. Seeing the vastness of the corruption all around him, the apostle Paul recalls God’s anger. One could say that the Lord does not want to allow himself to be mocked by evil, which seeks to destroy all of creation. God has made his presence known through signs placed in creation and history, but people did not recognize them and so grew distant from his saving righteousness and “gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves.” God’s anger—Paul writes—one day will pour itself upon sinful humanity, but it “reveals itself” already now, which we can observe today: our world, so far from God, is rife with war, conflict, violence, injustice, moral distortion, and threats to human dignity. People continue to succumb to the ancient temptation, the one initiated by Adam—and we are all Adam!—of putting ourselves in God’s place. The sin of pride and egocentrism are at the centre of every violence and evil: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” This way, people’s lives are dissipated in many cares and passions and everyone has a hard time finding the path to follow. Recognizing one’s own distance from God, and therefore also understanding the reason for God’s anger, is the beginning of conversion toward Him and of changing one’s life.
eti e i salmi si soffermano sulla corruzione del mondo derivante appunto dalla lontananza degli uomini da Dio. L’apostolo Paolo, di fronte alla vastità della corruzione che vede attorno a lui, richiama la collera di Dio. Si potrebbe dire che il Si-gnore non vuole lasciarsi beffare dal male che cerca di distruggere l’intera creazione. Egli ha posto nel creato e nella storia i segni della sua presenza, ma gli uomini non li hanno riconosciuti e si sono allontanati dalla sua giustizia che salva cadendo “in balia dell’impurità, schiavi dei loro cuori, così che i loro corpi si sono diso-norati da se stessi”. L’ira di Dio – scrive Paolo – si ri-verserà un giorno sull’umanità peccatrice, ma “si rivela” già da ora. Ed è una constatazione che anche noi pos-siamo fare in questo tempo: il mondo si è allontanato da Dio e non mancano guerre, conflitti, violenze, ingiu-stizie, stravolgimenti morali, attentati alla dignità stessa dell’uomo. L’uomo continua a soccombere all’antica tentazione, quella incominciata con Adamo – e tutti siamo Adamo! – di porsi al posto stesso di Dio. È il peccato dell’orgoglio e dell’egocentrismo che sono alla radice di ogni violenza e di ogni male: “Hanno cambia-to la verità di Dio con la menzogna e adorano la crea-tura al posto del creatore”. Così la vita degli uomini è dissipata in tanti affanni e passioni e tutti fanno fatica a trovare un cammino da percorrere. Riconoscere la propria lontananza da Dio e quindi anche la ragione della sua ira, è l’inizio della conversione a Lui e del cambiamento della vita.

Memory of the Church