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The Everyday Prayer

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

In the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere the Community of Sant’Egidio prays for peace. Memorial of Saint Sergii Radonezhsky of the Russian church. He founded the Lavra (monastery) of the Most Holy Trinity near Moscow. Remembrance of the evangelical pastor Paul Schneider who died in the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald on July 18, 1939.

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

Micah 6,1-4.6-8

Now listen to what Yahweh says: 'Stand up, state your case to the mountains and let the hills hear what you have to say!' Listen, mountains, to the case as Yahweh puts it, give ear, you foundations of the earth, for Yahweh has a case against his people and he will argue it with Israel. 'My people, what have I done to you, how have I made you tired of me? Answer me! For I brought you up from Egypt, I ransomed you from the place of slave-labour and sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam to lead you. 'With what shall I enter Yahweh's presence and bow down before God All-high? Shall I enter with burnt offerings, with calves one year old? Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand, with ten thousand streams of oil? Shall I offer my eldest son for my wrong-doing, the child of my own body for my sin? 'You have already been told what is right and what Yahweh wants of you. Only this, to do what is right, to love loyalty and to walk humbly with your God.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

"O my people, what have I done to you? In that I have grieved? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!" This is the lament of God, who cannot be at peace with Israel’s betrayal. He did everything to free his people from slavery in Egypt. He then accompanied them on their journey through the desert and led them to the Promised Land. And yet Israel forgot God’s merciful faithfulness and decided to stray and obstinately follow its own paths, which were far from the Lord’s and which always led to defeat and slavery. The pride of self-affirmation makes us blind and foolish. The Liturgy of the Church has understood the depth of the bitterness of God’s loving lament and places it on Jesus’s lips during the celebration of Good Friday: "O my people, what have I done to you?" From the height of the Cross, Jesus speaks this refrain, questioning each of us about our distance. While God’s story with us has been a story of unbounded love, our story with God has been cold, disconnected, and sometimes even cruel. There is no tone of condemnation in Jesus’s lament, there is only a love that cannot be at peace with our distance and our coldness. Let us listen to these words: our hearts will be touched, and we will respond like the man of faith: "With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?’ Before the voice of the Lord, who reminds us of his faithfulness and his love, every believer should first of all feel his or her own limits and inadequacy. How can we reciprocate this love? The prophet’s words illuminate our path: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" In order to live this out, we are called to learn "what is good." And it is the Word of God that shows us. We are disciples who always need to learn from the Lord’s love.

Prayer for peace