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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Dal libro del profeta Ezechiele 18,21-28

Ma se il malvagio si allontana da tutti i peccati che ha commesso e osserva tutte le mie leggi e agisce con giustizia e rettitudine, egli vivrà, non morirà. Nessuna delle colpe commesse sarà più ricordata, ma vivrà per la giustizia che ha praticato. Forse che io ho piacere della morte del malvagio - oracolo del Signore - o non piuttosto che desista dalla sua condotta e viva? Ma se il giusto si allontana dalla giustizia e commette il male, imitando tutte le azioni abominevoli che l'empio commette, potrà egli vivere? Tutte le opere giuste da lui fatte saranno dimenticate; a causa della prevaricazione in cui è caduto e del peccato che ha commesso, egli morirà.
Voi dite: "Non è retto il modo di agire del Signore". Ascolta dunque, casa d'Israele: Non è retta la mia condotta o piuttosto non è retta la vostra? Se il giusto si allontana dalla giustizia e commette il male e a causa di questo muore, egli muore appunto per il male che ha commesso. E se il malvagio si converte dalla sua malvagità che ha commesso e compie ciò che è retto e giusto, egli fa vivere se stesso. Ha riflettuto, si è allontanato da tutte le colpe commesse: egli certo vivrà e non morirà.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The prophet Ezekiel responds to a proverb that said—we find it in the beginning of the chapter—“The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” And to verse 19: “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’” It is a mentality that is very common even today, when a person is judged for his or her family of origin or for some evil committed by others. And often such judgment becomes a condemnation that marks a person for life. The word of the prophet asserts instead with extreme clarity that the responsibility before good and evil is always personal. No one is right or wicked for the evil committed by another, unless he or she was an accomplice. Rather the text asserts that God is ready to forgive everyone if they convert, if they change their hearts and ways of acting, if they stop doing evil and commit themselves to doing good. The text shows the great mercy of God, who allows everyone to change and convert: “When the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.” God’s mercy has no limits, because the Lord is always ready to forgive. But men and women must come to their senses, recognize the evil hidden in their hearts and turn to God with the trust of being listened to and aided. This is also valid for the righteous ones who distance themselves from the way of good: “When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.” The prophet helps us understand that we are all called to watch ourselves every day, because every day we choose between good and evil. No one is righteous and good per se. No one is evil per se. Each of us, every day must take on the responsibility before God of his or her actions and choices. God is always ready to forgive, but God asks each of us to be responsible for what we do. Facing good and evil the assurance of being righteous and good is not in itself a guarantee of life and goodness.

Memory of Jesus crucified