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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

Hosea 8,4-7.11-13

They have set up kings, but without my consent, and appointed princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold, they have made themselves idols, but only to be destroyed. I spurn your calf, Samaria! My anger blazes against them! How long will it be before they recover their innocence? For it is the product of Israel- a craftsman made the thing, it is no god at all! The calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces! Since they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind; stalk without ear, it will never yield flour- or if it does, foreigners will swallow it. Ephraim keeps building altars for his sins, these very altars are themselves a sin. However much of my Law I write for him, Ephraim regards it as alien to him. They offer sacrifices to me and eat the meat, they do not win Yahweh's favour. On the contrary, he will remember their guilt and punish their sins; they will have to go back to Egypt.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this passage, the prophet Hosea denounces the schism caused by the northern kingdom when Jeroboam decided to break with the royal house of David and elect kings who did not belong to the line chosen by David. These kings led the people to idolatry, making images like the golden calf of the desert for the people to see and worship. The absurdity of idolatry has clearly been grasped by the prophet, who ridicules the carved idols made by men: "an artisan made it; it is not God." The lie of idolatry does not fail to bring dire consequences: "For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind", a claim that is still remembered today to point out the negative consequences of bad choices. Idolatry leads to the multiplication of idolatry and forms of worship. But nothing changes in the hearts of believers. Indeed, the multiplicity of forms of worship leads to the construction of one, single altar and the establishment of one, single religion: the altar to "me" and the religion that is spreading even today, which some people call "egolatry": the worship of "me", the adoration of oneself and one’s own self-fulfilment. Self-centeredness leads to pride and the closing of our heart. And we forget God because we are full of and satisfied with ourselves. Wealth and fullness, as the words of the prophets recall elsewhere, are also at the origin of the violent injustices that continue to spread in society. "Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces...but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds," says the Lord. But the wellbeing does not last; indeed, it is quickly consumed. In the parable of the rich fool, who wanted to build larger barns to hold all of his wealth, Jesus warns: "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions" (Lk 12:15). And he invites us to become rich instead before God (Lk 12:21). The Lord does not forget us, but helps us to understand that the only true wealth is his word, which enables us to become rich before him.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord