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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

Amos 2,6-10.13-16

Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes of Israel, I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have sold the upright for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, because they have crushed the heads of the weak into the dust and thrust the rights of the oppressed to one side, father and son sleeping with the same girl and thus profaning my holy name, lying down beside every altar on clothes acquired as pledges, and drinking the wine of the people they have fined in the house of their god. Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, he who was as tall as the cedars, as strong as the oaks; I who destroyed his fruit above ground and his roots below. It was I who brought you up from Egypt and for forty years led you through the desert to take possession of the Amorite's country; Very well! Like a cart overloaded with sheaves I shall crush you where you stand; flight will be cut off for the swift, the strong will have no chance to exert his strength nor the warrior be able to save his life; the archer will not stand his ground, the swift of foot will not escape, nor will the horseman save his life; even the bravest of warriors will jettison his arms and run away, that day! -declares Yahweh!


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This oracle of the prophet is caused by the crimes committed against the poor in Israel. Israel is blamed for seven sins, all marked by social injustice, such as the sale of human beings for money, the brutality in trampling the poor "into the dust of the earth," immorality in behaviour, denial of the rights of the poor, the misappropriation of the assets of the sanctuary. For those who live in fullness and abundance, the lives of others and in particular of the poor often have no value. The Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan is an ancient story that spans the entire history and geography of the planet. How much violence towards the poor! The prophets often denounce it. At times even believers are blind to the brutality toward the poor and the weak. Amos understands the imperative to publicly denounce this situation. It is the style typical of the prophets: the proclamation of the Word of God turns always to denouncing injustice and violence toward others, particularly if they are poor and weak. For Israel - as well as for Jesus’ disciples - there is a heavy aggravating factor for they have been helped and delivered by the Lord. God - notes Amos - had freed Israel from the Amorites (the inhabitants of the land of Canaan), a strong and warlike people, because it is God who saves his needy and enslaved people. He also sent witnesses of his word, Nazirites and prophets. But Israel, after being freed, has become proud and no longer remembers the mercy and help of the Lord; Israel has despised the Nazirites (men consecrated to the Lord) and has behaved in an arrogant manner, trampling the weak and poor. They totally forgot what God had done when Israel was poor. The forgetfulness of the mercy God has shown us, makes us arrogant, violent and cruel. Therefore God will humble Israel ("I will press you down in your place") until they recognize their nakedness and needs. The seven final images show that what is believed to be one’s strength, is, in truth, doomed to failure. Yesterday, as today, the power of believers lies in God only.

Memory of the Poor