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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

Isaiah 7,1-9

In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah, Razon king of Aram advanced on Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, to attack it; but he was unable to attack it. The House of David was informed: 'Aram has halted in Ephraimite territory.' At this, his heart and his people's hearts shook like forest trees shaking in the wind. Yahweh then said to Isaiah, 'Go out with your son Shear-Jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the road to the Fuller's Field, and say to him, "Pay attention and keep calm. Do not be frightened or demoralised by these two smouldering sticks of firewood, by the fierce anger of Razon, Aram and the son of Remaliah, or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have been plotting against you and saying: Let us mount an attack on Judah, destroy it, force it onto our side and install the son of Tabeel there as king. "Lord Yahweh says this: This will not happen, it will never occur, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Razon; another sixty-five years, and Ephraim will cease to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you will not take your stand on me you will not stand firm." '

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The small kingdom of Judah risks going to war soon. One can understand the anxiety of the royal house, the house of David, which is looking for allies to help defend itself against the powerful nation of Assyria. Through his prophet, the Lord wants to save Israel from destruction. Isaiah is summoned to appear by King Ahaz with his son, whose name, Shear-jashub, means "a remnant will return." The king must see in him a sign of hope for the people of Judah. The prophet says to the king: "Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint." It is an invitation not to be afraid of the approaching danger: "Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands." But the believer’s assurance only makes sense if it rests on the certainty of God, who does not abandon his people. Later Isaiah will say: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength" (30:15). The call to faith is central in every story in the Bible, just as it is in this passage of the prophet. The power of faith is unknown to people who are used to trusting only in themselves and their own strength. Faith in God is the opposite of fear, which is the consequence of arrogant pride. It will neither be human alliances or the anxious search for security that will protect the people and guarantee a future of peace. Men and women of faith can build peace and security if they trust in God and his Word. Not only will they be free from fear, which always leads us to be mistrustful of others, but they will be able to resist and defeat evil to build a world of solidarity and peace. Let us never forget the statement that concludes this passage: "If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all."


07/12/2016
Memory of the Mother of the Lord


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