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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Micah 7,14-15.18-20

With shepherd's crook lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all round. Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old! As in the days when you came out of Egypt, grant us to see wonders! What god can compare with you for pardoning guilt and for overlooking crime? He does not harbour anger for ever, since he delights in showing faithful love. Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults; throw all our sins to the bottom of the sea. Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your faithful love, as you swore to our ancestors from the days of long ago.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The passage from Micah that we heard is taken from a true liturgy of hope, in which God and Israel speak to each other in a unique dialogue. First the prophet pleads with the Lord to intervene for his people and repeat the miracles of the Exodus: "As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvellous things" (v. 15). He tries to remind God why he is obliged to intervene. There is one underlying reason: God’s mercy. And Micah composed a very brief but intense hymn to mercy: "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of your possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency" (v. 16). Then, as if addressing the people, the prophet offers a short meditation meant to inspire hope: "He will again have compassion on us" (v. 19) assures the prophet. He presents how God exercises mercy with two powerful images: "He will tread our iniquities under foot" (v. 19), and then, addressing God, "You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" (v. 19). The Lord will send our iniquities and our sins to the bottom of the sea. How can we not be moved by such great love - we can all conclude - and how can we not let ourselves be loved by a God who is ready not only to forget our sins, but destroy them? God forgives Israel’s sins because he committed himself to their "ancestors from the days of old." That is why he will once again reveal his faithfulness and his benevolence. And all of this will appear in its fullness when God sends His Son into the world in order to take the entire weight of our sins on his shoulders and destroy them once and for all on the cross. The face of Jesus is the face of the mercy that saves.

Sunday Vigil