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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 6,1-8

In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; his train filled the sanctuary. Above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings: two to cover its face, two to cover its feet and two for flying; and they were shouting these words to each other: Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Sabaoth. His glory fills the whole earth. The door-posts shook at the sound of their shouting, and the Temple was full of smoke. Then I said: 'Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh Sabaoth.' Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in its hand a live coal which it had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this it touched my mouth and said: 'Look, this has touched your lips, your guilt has been removed and your sin forgiven.' I then heard the voice of the Lord saying: 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I, send me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

For several days, the liturgy of the mass presents us with the reading of several passages from the book of Isaiah. And it begins by presenting us with calling of the prophet, which is narrated in the middle of the first section of the book, which is made up of the first twelve chapters, focusing on the relationship between the prophet and public life and the figure of the king. It seems clear from the start that the king of Israel is "the Lord of hosts" (v. 5). The king Uzziah had just died of leprosy, an impure disease by definition, because he had arrogantly violated the divine holiness by allowing the people to offer sacrifices and incense to other gods (see 2 K 15:5). In contrast to the attitude of the king, Isaiah has a vision in which the transcendence and absolute majesty of God appear. Faced with the loftiness of God - He is "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts" - a human being recognizes his limits, his lowness, the impurity of his lips. Only God is the "Holy," that is, separate (the meaning of "sanctus"). Yet this God does not refuse to enter into human history. God fills the gap that separates him from humanity by sending his prophet. Isaiah is aware of his smallness and his sin. But it is the Lord who calls him, who purifies him, and puts on his lips the words that he must communicate to his people. In front of the Lord’s call, Isaiah does not hold back. He knows his limits, but he also knows that the Lord is his strength. Isaiah’s story is emblematic for all believers, even for us, or perhaps especially for us, who are called to a new mission in the world of today. Pope Francis invites us to a "missionary conversion." "Whom shall I send?" God seems to be asking today. And we have to ask ourselves: who will accept the call of God, who is looking for prophets of his word in a world that seems to be dominated by resignation to evil. All of us believers, and all those who are willing to let themselves get involved, should respond like Isaiah: "Here am I, send me." The question of God and our response to him are the hope for a peaceful future at the beginning of this millennium. This is the deep meaning of the year of mercy.

Sunday Vigil