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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Feast of Mary of Mount Carmel.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Exodus 3, 13-20

Moses then said to God, 'Look, if I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," and they say to me, "What is his name?" what am I to tell them?'

God said to Moses, 'I am he who is.' And he said, 'This is what you are to say to the Israelites, "I am has sent me to you." '

God further said to Moses, 'You are to tell the Israelites, "Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you." This is my name for all time, and thus I am to be invoked for all generations to come.

'Go, gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, "Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, has appeared to me -- the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob -- and has indeed visited you and seen what is being done to you in Egypt,

and has said: I shall bring you out of the misery of Egypt to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a country flowing with milk and honey."

They will listen to your words, and you and the elders of Israel are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, "Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has encountered us. So now please allow us to make a three-days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to Yahweh our God."

I am well aware that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is compelled by a mighty hand;

he will not let you go until I have stretched out my arm and struck Egypt with all the wonders I intend to work there.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Moses is still hesitant and uncertain before the task entrusted to him. He puts God to the test by asking him his name. He is searching for a clear definition, a level of security capable of responding to the world’s many questions. God does not refuse to answer, even if his words are almost enigmatic. Moses is told: “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” What does this name mean? It is not an evasive or difficult answer. Nor is it an abstract or theoretical definition. In a certain sense, God is not answering. Or rather, his real answer is his closeness to his people: I am the one who is with you, who will accompany you along the road to liberation, who will be with you in the promised land. The name of God is closely linked to history, to the personal relationship between God and his people. We cannot know God’s name in the abstract or as a truth separate from our humanity, removed from the human experience that so strongly conditions us. We could say that God reveals himself while he enters into history along with those who welcome him, while he comes close to us, men and women of the world. “He is the one who is” while he comes close to us. In fact, every man and woman, made in God’s image, is truly him or herself when he or she comes close to other people or thinks about someone else. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God who revealed himself by guiding the lives of the people who had faith in him, listened to him, and followed him. We cannot know God’s name without entrusting ourselves to him in the daily history of our lives. And it is God who frees us from slavery, so that his people can truly be themselves.

Memory of the Church