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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hosea 10,1-3.7-8.12

Israel was a luxuriant vine yielding plenty of fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred pillars. Theirs is a divided heart; now they will have to pay for it. He himself will hack down their altars and wreck their sacred pillars. Then they will say, 'We have no king because we have not feared Yahweh, but what could the king do for us?' Samaria has had her day. Her king is like a straw drifting on the water. The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, 'Cover us!' and to the hills, 'Fall on us!' Sow saving justice for yourselves, reap a harvest of faithful love; break up your fallow ground: it is time to seek out Yahweh until he comes to rain saving justice down on you.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The last part of the book of Hosea, from which today’s passage is taken, emphasizes the contrast between Israel’s past, when the fidelity to God woven into the people’s existence led to the abundance of the fruits of the earth, and the sadness of the present time, marked by the distance from God: because of their sins, the people of Israel are on the brink of the abyss. Hosea is the first of the prophets of the Old Testament to compare Israel to a vine: "Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit." With this image, the prophet describes the prosperity of the people of Israel. It is even more bitter to see the contrast between the abundance of vine, the fruit of Lord’s work, and the hardness of the heart of Israel, which refused the Lord’s help. God entrusts to his people a grave responsibility, which is described through the imagery of ploughing and sowing. Ephraim and Jacob, that is, the whole people of Israel, are called by God to sow justice in the field of life in order to reap goodness. Justice and goodness are the result of the choices of those who seek the Lord and listen to his word faithfully. On the contrary, those who sow wickedness shall reap injustice. The Lord gives everyone the task of sowing justice in a world that knows neither fairness nor pity. But in general, everyone only seeks security and satisfaction for him or herself. But those who rely on their own strength distance themselves from God and construct a radically violent and unjust world, in which war becomes a tool to affirm one’s own personal power (v. 13-14). The justice of God goes far beyond mere calculation and the greedy measure of human calculations, it is carried out with goodness and mercy. Each believer is given the task of cultivating the field of life every day, sowing love and mercy in order to bring forth fruits of justice for all. In a world like the one we find at the beginning of this millennium it is more urgent than ever to welcome these words of the prophet.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets