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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 8,4-6.9-12

Listen to this, you who crush the needy and reduce the oppressed to nothing, you who say, 'When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then, we can make the bushel-measure smaller and the shekel-weight bigger, by fraudulently tampering with the scales. We can buy up the weak for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and even get a price for the sweepings of the wheat.' 'On that Day- declares the Lord Yahweh- I shall make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I shall turn your festivals into mourning and all your singing into lamentation; I shall make you all wear sacking round your waists and have all your heads shaved. I shall make it like the mourning for an only child, and it will end like the bitterest of days. 'The days are coming- declares the Lord Yahweh- when I shall send a famine on the country, not hunger for food, not thirst for water, but famine for hearing Yahweh's word. People will stagger from sea to sea, will wander from the north to the east, searching for Yahweh's word, but will not find it.

 

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 is part of the last section of the book of Amos (chapters 7-9), which presents five visions of divine punishment, a punishment which is first threatened and then carried out. In the context of the fourth vision, concerning a basket of mature fruit (8:1-3), the prophet announces the end of Israel, which has now reached maturity. The Word of God lets us read history in depth; it makes us see beyond our superficiality, beyond our external criteria. By listening to the Lord, the prophet participates in God’s vision for history. And he is called to communicate it to the people to whom the Lord sends him. In this passage, Amos sees the end of a society that was built on wealth and satiation, but did not know how to carry out justice or love the poor. Its inevitable, ruinous, and painful end is caused by these injustices. The rejection of the Word of God, which the prophets never stop proclaiming, always leads to destruction. We could say that is not God who inflicts the destructive punishment, but it is the very corruption of the society that leads to its collapse. The inhabitants of Samaria, the capital of the Kingdom of Israel, were willing to do anything to increase their wealth. Any means of enrichment became lawful. And corruption became normal. Even the festivals ("the new moon") and the Sabbath, times consecrated to the Lord, had become opportunities to make money, in complete indifference for the poor and with the only goal of accumulating goods for oneself. The prophetic word admonishes us so that we will not give in to the trickery of wealth, which easily leads us to forget God and despise the poor. The Lord is not interested in men and women who come to him in the rituals of worship but live satiated and without love. The "day of Lord," described with apocalyptic imagery (the darkening of the sun, shadows on the earth) will be terrible: feasts will change into mourning, songs into lamentation, luxurious clothing into sackcloth, and proud heads into shaved scalps. They will even experience the most bitter pain: the mourning for the death of an only son, the extinction of the family. It is important to reflect on the fact that this scenario of death comes with the extinction of the Word of God: people will hunger for the Word of God to find relief, but prophecy will be extinct and bread will not be able to be found. It is an urgent warning for us to accept the grace of preaching while available.


07/01/2016
Memory of Jesus crucified


Calendar of the week
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
DEC
6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
DEC
9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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