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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 27, 1-5.15-29

When Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he summoned his elder son Esau. 'Son!' he said, and Esau replied, 'Here I am.'

He then said, 'Look, I am old and do not know when I may die.

Now take your weapons, your quiver and bow; go out into the country and hunt me some game.

Make me the kind of appetising dish I like and bring it to me to eat and I shall give you my special blessing before I die.'

Rebekah was listening while Isaac was talking to his son Esau. So when Esau went into the country to hunt game for his father,

Rebekah took her elder son Esau's best clothes, which she had at home, and dressed her younger son Jacob in them,

covering his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skins of the kids.

She then handed the special dish and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.

He went to his father and said, 'Father!' 'Yes?' he replied. 'Which of my sons are you?'

Jacob said to his father, 'I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of the game I have brought and then give me your soul's blessing.'

Isaac said to his son, 'Son, how did you succeed so quickly?' He replied, 'Because Yahweh your God made things go well for me.'

Isaac said to Jacob, 'Come closer, son, so that I can feel you and be sure whether you really are my son Esau or not.'

Jacob went closer to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, 'The voice is Jacob's voice but the arms are the arms of Esau!'

He did not recognise him since his arms were hairy like his brother Esau's, and so he blessed him.

He said, 'Are you really my son Esau?' And he replied, 'I am.'

Isaac said, 'Serve it to me, so that I can eat my son's game and give you my special blessing.' He served it to him and he ate; he offered him wine, and he drank.

His father Isaac said to him, 'Come closer, and kiss me, son.'

He went closer and kissed his father, who sniffed the smell of his clothes. Then he blessed him, saying: Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a fertile field which Yahweh has blessed.

May God give you dew from heaven, and the richness of the earth, abundance of grain and wine!

Let peoples serve you and nations bow low before you! Be master of your brothers; let your mother's other sons bow low before you! Accursed be whoever curses you and blessed be whoever blesses you!


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaac is now elderly and wants to bless his son Esau, the firstborn. Rebecca does not want this, because she was deeply hurt by his decision to take two foreign women as wives. She is the one who suggests to Jacob the trick of substituting himself for his brother and taking his father’s blessing. Esau hunted the beasts of the field with agility and was successful in everything he did, becoming a conqueror who ruled over his neighbours, while Jacob was a simple man, a person who enjoyed rest. Rebecca does not seem to give any consideration at all to the Divine word when she plans for the elder brother to serve the younger. Esau felt hatred towards Jacob because of the stolen blessing, and the younger brother is forced to flee. He preferred to get the blessing and inheritance through every sort of deceit and trickery rather than through simple submission to God. But God does not refuse to bless Jacob, even if he had seized it through trickery. In the Gospel Jesus will say that the disciples should be as simple as doves but as crafty as serpents. It is not easy to be both. It is necessary even more to belong to God, to listen to His will, and to follow Him to be worthy of the blessings we receive, even if obtained through cunning Jacob and Rebecca are skilled enough to get the blessing even if it angers Jacob’s brother. God uses human weakness to act, giving his blessing to even the least.

Sunday Vigil