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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of Floribert Bwana Chui, a young Congolese man who was killed by unknown assailants in Goma for he opposed an attempt of corruption.

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

Hosea 14,2-10

Israel, come back to Yahweh your God your guilt was the cause of your downfall. Provide yourself with words and come back to Yahweh. Say to him, 'Take all guilt away and give us what is good, instead of bulls we will dedicate to you our lips. Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, "Our God!" to our own handiwork, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.' I shall cure them of their disloyalty, I shall love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned away from them. I shall fall like dew on Israel, he will bloom like the lily and thrust out roots like the cedar of Lebanon; he will put out new shoots, he will have the beauty of the olive tree and the fragrance of Lebanon. They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow wheat again, they will make the vine flourish, their wine will be as famous as Lebanon's. What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when I hear him and watch over him? I am like an evergreen cypress, you owe your fruitfulness to me. Let the wise understand these words, let the intelligent grasp their meaning, for Yahweh's ways are straight and the upright will walk in them, but sinners will stumble.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The book of Hosea concludes with this passionate invitation to return to the Lord: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God." It is like a penitential liturgy that fits in well with this Jubilee Year of Mercy. To prevent a superficial return that does not involve the heart, the prophet invites Israel to prepare the words to speak to the Lord: we cannot present ourselves before the Lord with improvisation or haste: an awareness of our sin, a request for forgiveness, and an awareness of our need are all required for us to let God enter our heart and heal us. That is why the prophet says: "take words with you." The encounter with God requires interiority, an awareness of our own limits. We can think, for example, of the inner struggle that was experienced by the prodigal son described in the Gospel of Luke. The sadness of his condition and his awareness of his sin are essential for his decision to go back to his father. He too prepares the words for his return, even if his father will not even let him speak them. Conversion requires the abandonment of the god of Assyria, the renunciation of the worship of idols, as well as the renunciation of an instrument of war (horses) in favour of spiritual sacrifices to God, who is mercy: "Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God’, to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy" (v. 4). The forgiveness and love that God offers brings the miracle: Israel is healed and discovers a new spring: it will blossom like a lily, take root like a tree of Lebanon, gain the beauty of the olive, and will return to sit in the shadow of God. The life of those who convert their hearts and return to God is imagined as a lush garden and a fountain that can provide shelter and quench the thirst of those who come to it.

Memory of Jesus crucified