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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

Genesis 3, 1-8

Now, the snake was the most subtle of all the wild animals that Yahweh God had made. It asked the woman, 'Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?'

The woman answered the snake, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden.

But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, "You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death." '

Then the snake said to the woman, 'No! You will not die!

God knows in fact that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil.'

The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was enticing for the wisdom that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked. So they sewed fig-leaves together to make themselves loin-cloths.

The man and his wife heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

When God placed the man and woman in the garden, he told them that they could eat the fruit of any tree they saw except for the one in the centre of the garden. They did not listen to God’s Word; rather they let themselves be seduced by the voice of the serpent, that is the voice of the idol, the voice of evil. This voice smoothly insinuates itself in our everyday lives. It comes out of our hearts; it touches upon our pride or caresses self-congratulation or deludes us that anything is within our reach. In any event, it lures us into focusing solely on ourselves. It is also the voice of false prophets who propose riches, well-being, healing and success. Truly, these words and suggestions are deceptive and they distance us from the Lord. What the tempter proposes is simple: do not believe the voice of God, but the voice of others. The tempter’s approach is always the same: he stimulates our pride, our self-love and our search for greatness without God. We can say that original sin, the origin of sin, lies in our lack of trust in God’s Word and our refusal to listen to it, most of all by trusting ourselves, our own pride. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans rightly affirms that “So faith comes from what is heard” (10: 17). The root of original sin is not listening to the Word of God. Often the Bible condemns a man or woman’s choice to listen to himself or herself, to follow evil and turn to idols rather than to listen to the Lord who speaks with so much love and wisdom. Listening to the tempter makes human beings lose their friendship with God and mutual solidarity. Adam and Eve, who claimed to know everything and who thought they could do it alone, found themselves naked, with nothing, and fearful. Pride deprives us of friendship with God, separates us from him and renders us poor. Without the Lord, each one of us sadly discovers our poverty and fragility, and comes to grips with our powerlessness to create a true response to the conditions in which we live. Adam and Eve hid themselves before God who nonetheless continued to love and take care of them. Those who stop listening to God’s voice and trust solely in themselves and their beliefs distance themselves from the Lord and create division and pain. We do well to listen everyday to God’s Word, since in that way we can avoid being deceived by idols and false prophets who multiply in times of difficulty and crisis.

Memory of Jesus crucified