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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

Exodus 2, 1-15

There was a man descended from Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife.

She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months.

When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the River's edge.

His sister took up position some distance away to see what would happen to him.

Now Pharaoh's daughter went down to bathe in the river, while her maids walked along the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it.

She opened it and saw the child: the baby was crying. Feeling sorry for it, she said, 'This is one of the little Hebrews.'

The child's sister then said to Pharaoh's daughter, 'Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?'

'Yes,' said Pharaoh's daughter, and the girl went and called the child's own mother.

Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this child away and nurse it for me. I shall pay you myself for doing so.' So the woman took the child away and nursed it.

When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter who treated him like a son; she named him Moses 'because', she said, 'I drew him out of the water.'

It happened one day, when Moses was grown up, that he went to see his kinsmen. While he was watching their forced labour he also saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen.

Looking this way and that and seeing no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, 'What do you mean by hitting your kinsman?'

'And who appointed you', the man retorted, 'to be prince over us and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' Moses was frightened. 'Clearly that business has come to light,' he thought.

When Pharaoh heard of the matter, he tried to put Moses to death, but Moses fled from Pharaoh. He went into Midianite territory and sat down beside a well.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The story of the birth of Moses amazes us. Moses belonged to the tribe of Levi, which was cursed because of his violence (Gen 49:5-7). Furthermore he has an Egyptian name, and he is completely immersed in Egyptian culture. Indeed, he was raised in the Pharaoh’s house. These are contradictory elements, but they do not keep God form choosing him to liberate the people of Israel, Moses is presented as one who was “drawn from the water.” In fact, God saves the child as if to indicate in advance the task he will give him regarding the nation of slaves: freeing them from slavery through the waters of the sea. God comes near to men and women in unexpected ways. There seemed to be no escape from the history of Israel. But God does not abandon men and women; he does not abandon the poor, slaves, and the condemned. He continues to raise up many people like Moses to blaze a path towards liberty for many, overcoming every resignation about the impossibility of salvation. In truth, “everything is possible for those who have faith.”

Memory of the Mother of the Lord