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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Clare of Assisi (1193-1253), disciple of Saint Francis on the way of poverty and evangelic simplicity.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ezekiel 12,1-12

The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, you are living among a tribe of rebels who have eyes and never see, they have ears and never hear, because they are a tribe of rebels. So, son of man, pack an exile's bundle and set off for exile by daylight while they watch. You will leave your home and go somewhere else while they watch. Then perhaps they will see that they are a tribe of rebels. You will pack your baggage like an exile's bundle, by daylight, while they watch, and leave like an exile in the evening, while they watch. While they watch, make a hole in the wall, and go out through it. While they watch, you will shoulder your pack and go out into the dark; you will cover your face so that you cannot see the ground, since I have made you an omen for the House of Israel.' I did as I had been told. I packed my baggage like an exile's bundle, by daylight; and in the evening I made a hole through the wall with my hands; then I went out into the dark and shouldered my pack while they watched. Next morning the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, did not the House of Israel, did not that tribe of rebels, ask you, "What are you doing?" Say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: This prophecy concerns Jerusalem and the whole House of Israel who live there." Say, "I am an omen for you; as I have done, so will be done to them; they will be deported into exile. Their prince will shoulder his pack in the dark and go out through the wall; a hole will be made to let him out; he will cover his face, so that he cannot see the country.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord orders the prophet to show - through a very eloquent scene - the consequences brought about by the people’s hardness of hard and dullness of mind. They in fact no longer understand the Word of God and are certainly not moved by his love. The prophet has known from the very beginning that he will find the Israelites mistrustful of his words: "But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me" (Ez 3:7). And so, through a symbolic gesture, Ezekiel prophesies the impending fall of Jerusalem and the deportation of the king Zedekiah and the people to Babylon. The pages of the Bible often emphasize the fact that the Lord’s people have eyes and ears but do not see the works of the Lord or listen to his word. But despite their hardness of heart, the Lord continues to be concerned for his children and never stops sending them his messengers: "Perhaps they will understand," the Lord says. We find this sense of "perhaps" in Jeremiah too: "It may be that they will listen" (Jer 26:3); and again "It may be that when the house of Judah hears of all the disasters that I intend to do to them, all of them may turn from their evil ways" (Jer 36:3). The Lord never tires of calling his people to conversion, to return to him and to listen to him, or better, to love him. The Lord is looking for his people’s love, to the point of almost making himself a beggar for the affection of the people he has saved, healed, taught, and defended. Therefore the Lord asks Ezekiel - seven times, as if to underline the fact that we should never tire of preaching God’s salvation - to gather his things together quickly and to leave them in front of his house as if he were getting ready to depart, and to dig a hole in the brick wall to come out of his house. This is the Lord’s attempt to make the people understand what was about to happen, a sort of hyperbolic language that no one could claim not to understand. Jesus himself will return to the problem of them having eyes and not seeing and ears and not hearing; that is why he often used parables. The final scene narrated by the prophet describes the exile of the king. But the Lord, through the prophet, will never leave his people’s side where he is present to light their steps.

Memory of the Church