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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Romans 2, 25-29

Circumcision has its value if you keep the Law; but if you go on breaking the Law, you are no more circumcised than the uncircumcised.

And if an uncircumcised man keeps the commands of the Law, will not his uncircumcised state count as circumcision?

More, the man who, in his native uncircumcised state, keeps the Law, is a condemnation of you, who, by your concentration on the letter and on circumcision, actually break the Law.

Being a Jew is not only having the outward appearance of a Jew, and circumcision is not only a visible physical operation.

The real Jew is the one who is inwardly a Jew, and real circumcision is in the heart, a thing not of the letter but of the spirit. He may not be praised by any human being, but he will be praised by God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Book of Deuteronomy already spoke passionately about the necessity for circumcision not only of the flesh, but also of the heart: “Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords.” Many prophets of the First Testament, following the spirit of the text of Deuteronomy, picked up the theme on circumcision of the heart. Jeremiah, for example, said: “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, remove the foreskin of your hearts” (4:4). All of Scripture is an impassioned search on God’s part of men and women’s hearts so that they may indissolubly bind themselves to God. God’s quest for men and women marks the entire history of salvation. We could say that the history of salvation is all “in descent”; it is God coming down to each one of us in order to carry us up to heaven, to “make us ascend” toward communion with Him. Men and women’s response to God’s love is that the other side of this love story is initiated freely by God. The Apostle Paul, - in the new perspective opened up by faith in Christ, that does not cancel out the heart of this love story, but brings it to completion - reminds us that what counts in the Lord’s eyes is the authenticity of one’s faith in God and not merely one’s membership to the people the lord chose for himself. True circumcision, the apostle confirms, is interior, is of the heart and of the spirit. This is Christian “circumcision”, which is rooted in the heart and not in the flesh. Furthermore, in the Letter to the Philippians, Paul, taking on a somewhat polemical tone, that Christians are the ones who are truly circumcised: “For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh” (3:3).

Memory of the Mother of the Lord