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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Don Andrea Santoro, a Roman priest killed in Trebizond, Turkey.

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

Sirach 47,2-13

As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so was David chosen out of the Israelites. He played with lions as though with kids, and with bears as though with lambs. While still a boy, did he not slay the giant and take away the people's shame, by hurling a stone from his sling and cutting short the boasting of Goliath? For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm to put a mighty warrior to death and assert the strength of his own people. Hence they gave him credit for ten thousand, and praised him while they blessed the Lord, by offering him a crown of glory. For he destroyed the enemies on every front, he annihilated his foes, the Philistines, and crushed their strength for ever. In all his activities he gave thanks to the Holy One Most High in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Creator. He placed singers before the altar, melodiously to sing; he gave the feasts their splendour, the festivals their solemn pomp, causing the Lord's holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn. The Lord took away his sins, making his strength ever greater; he gave him a royal covenant, and a glorious throne in Israel. A wise son succeeded him, who lived content, thanks to him. Solomon reigned in a time of peace, and God gave him peace all round so that he could raise a house to his name and prepare an everlasting sanctuary.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage of Sirach is taken from the chapters praising the "fathers", especially of David and Solomon. It is a wisdom reflection that reveals David as the chosen of God, to whom God entrusted his plan of love for his people. The text seems to forget the sin committed by David; only towards the end of the passage it remembers that "the Lord took away his sins." The author seems to emphasize the greatness of God’s mercy that is far greater than the sins of men and women, to the point of almost forgetting them. What matters is the choice that God makes of his servants. The person elected is given dignity by the fact that he is chosen to be at the service of salvation. The Lord reserved David for himself, just as he wanted the best part of sacrifices reserved for him. (see Lv 3:9-17). David became the witness of God’s power and love for his people. The author then gives particular emphasis to a text in which he explains that David was great not so much for his faith that enabled him to defeat the giant, Goliath, the terror of the people of Israel, but especially because he sang the praises of God in psalms: "He sang praise with all his heart and he loved his Maker." And, even today in the Christian tradition, believers continue to praise the Lord with the splendid prayers of the Psalms. David’s praise increases because he organized the worship before God: "He placed singers before the altar, to make sweet melody with their voices. He gave beauty to the festivals, and arranged their times throughout the year, while they praised God’s holy name, and the sanctuary resounded from early morning." These words make us think about the beauty that should shine in our celebrations as well. They invite us to make our churches, our sanctuaries, and our places dedicated to the Lord beautiful and dignified. The Byzantine tradition that conceives and builds churches as a foretaste of the Kingdom of God on earth, as the beginning of paradise, is beautiful and full of meaning. It is in the churches that we are built into the living stones who praise the Lord.

Memory of Jesus crucified