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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Romans 9, 1-5

This is the truth and I am speaking in Christ, without pretence, as my conscience testifies for me in the Holy Spirit;

there is great sorrow and unremitting agony in my heart:

I could pray that I myself might be accursed and cut off from Christ, if this could benefit the brothers who are my own flesh and blood.

They are Israelites; it was they who were adopted as children, the glory was theirs and the covenants; to them were given the Law and the worship of God and the promises.

To them belong the fathers and out of them, so far as physical descent is concerned, came Christ who is above all, God, blessed for ever. Amen.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having spoken of the revelation of the justice of God, who justifies believers and gives them the ability to live according to the Spirit, the apostle now turns his attention to the people of Israel and the mystery of their history. He feels deeply connected to the history of the people God has chosen, starting with Abraham. And, deeply anguished, he asks what will become of this people if salvation depends on Jesus Christ and no longer on the law. The apostle obviously feels bitterness because his former brethren in the flesh do not get to enjoy the new covenant established by Jesus: "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs. "In fact - Paul adds- "And from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed for ever. " The people of the first covenant let themselves be caught - he affirms - by the presumption of already possessing God’s favour through the law. And this belief led them to stumble, on the "stumbling block," itself, that is, by not recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. Nonetheless - and here the apostle touches on the mystery of God’s faithfulness - "It is not as though the word of God had failed." The apostle tries to resolve the problem of the identity of the true Israel. He affirms that not all the descendants of Israel are truly such. It is not enough to be descended by flesh and blood to be children of God; it is necessary for our hearts to accept the Gospel of Christ. Only faith, that is, the free and complete acceptance of God by our hearts, will free us from the slavery of the flesh and give us a part in salvation. This is why even Jesus’ disciples must be on guard against belonging to the community of believers in an exterior, individualistic, or ritual way. Only faith marked by love saves.

Memory of Jesus crucified