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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Micah 7, 14-15.18-20

With shepherd's crook lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all round. Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old!

As in the days when you came out of Egypt, grant us to see wonders!

What god can compare with you for pardoning guilt and for overlooking crime? He does not harbour anger for ever, since he delights in showing faithful love.

Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults; throw all our sins to the bottom of the sea.

Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your faithful love, as you swore to our ancestors from the days of long ago.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This passage from Micah is taken from a true liturgy of hope in which a special dialogue between God and Israel is weaved. At first the prophet pleads with the Lord to intervene for his people and repeat the miracles of the Exodus: "As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvellous things" (v. 15). He tries to remind God of the reasons for which he is obliged to intervene. There is an underlying reason: his mercy. And Micah weaves a very short but intense hymn to mercy: " Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency"(v.18). Then, as if speaking to the people, the prophet offers a small meditation aiming to inspire hope: "He will again have compassion upon us" (v. 19), assures the prophet. And this presents, with two very effective images, God's mercy: "He will tread our iniquities under foot" (v. 19), and turning, therefore, to God: "You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" (v.19). The Lord will wreck our iniquities and our sin. How - we can all conclude - not to be moved by such a great love and not to let be loved by a God so ready not only to forget but even to destroy our sins? God forgives the sins of Israel because he committed with the "fathers from the days of old," for this reason he will show again his loyalty and his benevolence. And all of this will appear in its fullness when God sends His Son into the world; a son who directly takes on his shoulders the whole burden of sin, and with his passion on the cross destroys them forever. The face of Jesus is the face of mercy that saves.

Sunday Vigil