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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of the patriarch Abraham. In faith he journeyed to a land that he did not know, but that was promised to him by God. Because of this faith, he is called the father of believers by Jews, Christians and Muslims

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Joel 1, 13-15; 2,1-2

Priests, put on sackcloth and lament! You ministers of the altar, wail! Come here, lie in sackcloth all night long, you ministers of my God! For the Temple of your God has been deprived of cereal offering and libation.

Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; you elders, summon everybody in the country to the Temple of Yahweh your God. Cry out to Yahweh:

'Alas for the day! For the Day of Yahweh is near, coming as destruction from Shaddai.'

Blow the ram's-horn in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let everybody in the country tremble, for the Day of Yahweh is coming, yes, it is near.

Day of darkness and gloom, Day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn, across the mountains spreads a vast and mighty people, such as has never been before, such as will never be again to the remotest ages.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet Joel lives in a difficult time marked by war and natural disasters such as drought and famine. The passage we just heard is probably referring to a terrible invasion of locusts that had devastated everything. This devastation is seen as a foreshadowing of the terrible judgment at the end of time. The prophet renews his invitation to conversion, calling "all the inhabitants of the land" (v. 14) to an extraordinary penitential assembly. The prophetic word resounds strongly to keep the people of Israel from following the instinct to become resigned and turn in on themselves. Everyone is invited to gather in the house of the Lord and pray with insistent faith. Fasting accompanies prayer. One could say that in times of difficulty, prayer itself is a fast, that is, the recognition of one’s sins and one’s condition of misery and weakness. It is not our human strength that frees us. God alone can bring salvation. Faced with the evil of the world, believers possess an effective weapon: prayer, the cry of the poor to God to save them. We are aware of our weakness (that is the meaning of fasting), but we are also aware of the strength God has given us in prayer, a strength that changes and reconciles. Jesus repeated this to his disciples insistently: "But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting" (Mt 17:21). And later he says, "Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven" (Mt 18:19). Prayer is the first work of the community.

Memory of Jesus crucified