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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Romans 11, 1-2.11-12.25-29

What I am saying is this: is it possible that God abandoned his people? Out of the question! I too am an Israelite, descended from Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

God never abandoned his own people to whom, ages ago, he had given recognition. Do you not remember what scripture says about Elijah and how he made a complaint to God against Israel:

What I am saying is this: Was this stumbling to lead to their final downfall? Out of the question! On the contrary, their failure has brought salvation for the gentiles, in order to stir them to envy.

And if their fall has proved a great gain to the world, and their loss has proved a great gain to the gentiles -- how much greater a gain will come when all is restored to them!

I want you to be quite certain, brothers, of this mystery, to save you from congratulating yourselves on your own good sense: part of Israel had its mind hardened, but only until the gentiles have wholly come in;

and this is how all Israel will be saved. As scripture says: From Zion will come the Redeemer, he will remove godlessness from Jacob.

And this will be my covenant with them, when I take their sins away.

As regards the gospel, they are enemies, but for your sake; but as regards those who are God's choice, they are still well loved for the sake of their ancestors.

There is no change of mind on God's part about the gifts he has made or of his choice.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In his third reflection on the significance of Israel in the history of salvation, Paul tries to grasp what God’s plan for his people might be. Even though he had claimed that the true Israel was just the small remnant that demonstrated its faith in God by accepting Jesus as the Messiah, Paul now faces the problem of those who have not made this decisive step. Is it possible to imagine that by choosing a people made up of Jews and Gentiles, God has rejected the historical Israel, abandoning it to its fate From the very beginning, Paul has strongly affirms that the Lord has not abandoned "his people." Their rejection of the proclamation of salvation is a mystery that causes him deep suffering. But even in the face of this refusal, which he cannot explain, the apostle is sure that this attitude is not permanent. Paul can see a mysterious relationship between the people of Israel and the new covenant; it is a bond that is full of mystery, but it certainly plays a role in the history of salvation. The new covenant is related to the first the way that a new graft is related to the old limb onto which it is placed. Nonetheless, the believers of the new covenant should not become proud; on the contrary, they are called to give thanks for being called to salvation. Paul closes with a hymn to the depth of divine wisdom that continues to direct the history of humanity. And he writes to the Romans: "I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved." This is a prophetic vision of history that reveals a unique closeness between ancient Israel and those who believe in Christ. The latter are asked to recognize the presence of God in human history in every circumstance - Saint John XXIII would say, to recognize the "signs of the times" - and to take part in them in order to guide history towards God’s kingdom of love and peace.

Sunday Vigil