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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Malachi 3, 13-20a

'You have said harsh things about me, says Yahweh. And yet you say, "What have we said against you?"

You have said, "It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before Yahweh Sabaoth?

In fact, we now call the proud the happy ones; the evil-doers are the ones who prosper; they put God to the test, yet come to no harm!" '

Then those who feared Yahweh talked to one another about this, and Yahweh took note and listened; and a book of remembrance was written in his presence recording those who feared him and kept his name in mind.

'On the day when I act, says Yahweh Sabaoth, they will be my most prized possession, and I shall spare them in the way a man spares the son who serves him.

Then once again you will see the difference between the upright person and the wicked one, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.

'For look, the Day is coming, glowing like a furnace. All the proud and all the evil-doers will be the stubble, and the Day, when it comes, will set them ablaze, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor branch.

But for you who fear my name, the Sun of justice will rise with healing in his rays, and you will come out leaping like calves from the stall,


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet Malachi - which means, "the Lord is my angel" - lived towards the middle of the 5th century B.C., at the time of Nehemiah’s reform. With a style that enters into dialogue with the audience, as can be seen in the passage we just heard, the prophet invites the people of Israel to read the situation in which they are living by listening attentively to the Word of God. If we listen to the Word of God, it illuminates the time in which we live. In truth, faith in God’s justice had grown dim among the believers, even the most devout, because the proud and violent always appeared to have the upper hand: "It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape" (v.14-15). Despite the believers’ lack of faith, the Lord does not react by threatening punishment, but by an act of understanding. He records the names and deeds of the believers in a book of remembrance as a sign and a witness that they will never be forgotten. At the end of time, the righteous will be considered the Lord’s "possession," as belonging to him. In those days the fate of the righteous and the fate of the wicked will be seen clearly. The "sun of righteousness" will shine on the righteous, protecting them with its rays: "See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up...But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings" (v.19-20). In this rising sun, the Christian spiritual tradition has read the birth of Jesus, who came to bring light to the shadows of sadness and to subjugate the power of the evil one.

Memory of the Church