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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 11,1-10

A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots. On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh: his inspiration will lie in fearing Yahweh. His judgement will not be by appearances. his verdict not given on hearsay. He will judge the weak with integrity and give fair sentence for the humblest in the land. He will strike the country with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips bring death to the wicked. Uprightness will be the belt around his waist, and constancy the belt about his hips. The wolf will live with the lamb, the panther lie down with the kid, calf, lion and fat-stock beast together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like the ox. The infant will play over the den of the adder; the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair. No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea. That day, the root of Jesse, standing as a signal for the peoples, will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This oracle of Isaiah is closely linked to chapters 7 and 9, in which the prophet had announced the birth of a child, a descendant of David, Emmanuel, the light that shines in the darkness. The prophetic word announces that God has not abandoned his people to the power of injustice and violence. In fact, slavery had made the people of Israel become like a dry trunk, destined to rot away, with no future hope of being a flowering tree bearing leaves and fruit. But then the prophet announces: "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." From the dry trunk sprouts a bud. Yes, it is just a little shoot that does not look like a large, strong tree. Its strength does not depend on its size as measured by people, but on the sap that gives it life: the life-giving Spirit of God. The prophet says: "The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." This shoot is full of wisdom and strength. The enumeration of the six gifts of the Spirit suggests the extraordinary strength of the "shoot" that is about to be born. Believers are called to bind themselves to that shoot and receive the richness of its gifts. If we graft ourselves on to that shoot, we too will be given the richness of the gifts of the Spirit. The believer is, in fact, a spiritual person, someone who is guided by the richness of the gifts of the Spirit. The believer is called to accept the Spirit poured out in his or her heart with openness, in order to be aligned with God, to read the many "signs of the time," and to transform the world into a place of justice and peace. The prophet makes it clear that justice begins with the defence of the poor and oppressed for God cares for them first and foremost. Love for the poor and defence of their rights is the way to justice for the entire society. Yes, care for the weak is the beginning of peace within the people of Israel and among the peoples of the earth. The prophet shows this through the beautiful images of the wolf that dwells with the lamb, the leopard that lies down with the kid, and the calf and the lion that graze together, led by a child. This is how the new world of peace begins. We need to let ourselves be led by the Spirit of love for the poor, and justice will come to dwell on the earth.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord