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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Stephen (+1038), king of Hungary. He was converted to the Gospel and promoted the evangelization of his country.

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

Ezekiel 28,1-10

The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, "The Lord Yahweh says this: Because your heart has grown proud, you thought: I am a god; I am divinely enthroned far out to sea. Though you are human, not divine, you have allowed yourself to think like God. So, you are wiser than Danel; no sage as wise as you! By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made yourself a fortune, you have put gold and silver into your treasuries. Such is your skill in trading, your fortune has continued to increase, and your fortune has made your heart grow prouder. "And so, the Lord Yahweh says this: Since you have allowed yourself to think like God, very well, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most barbarous of the nations. They will draw sword against your fine wisdom, they will desecrate your splendour, they will throw you down into the grave and you will die a violent death far out to sea. Will you still think: I am a god, when your slaughterers confront you? But you will be human, not divine, in the clutches of the ones who strike you down! You will die like the uncircumcised at the hand of foreigners. "For I have spoken -- declares the Lord Yahweh." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage we have read is part of the words spoken by the prophet to the people. Here it is about Tyre, an important commercial city in present-day Lebanon. The Word of God also speaks outside of our normal boundaries; it is a word that everyone can listen to. Ezekiel recognizes something that is constant in the attitudes of all the nations: pride, the arrogance that leads them to exalt themselves and their own strength. For the prophet, pride is the original sin of nations, the thing that undermines their ability to live together. We read: "Because your heart is proud and you have said, ‘I am a god...yet you are but a mortal, and no god." What is the basis of this sin? The city’s heart is full of pride because of its lust for power and the wealth it has accumulated through trade. The Word of God breaks into history with its strength to tell us once again that the sin of pride, which leads people to believe in themselves, in their own power and strength, and only aims for the enrichment of a few in a marketplace with no scruples, still causes many forms of injustice, wars, and inequality today. God cannot tolerate this attitude. The Word of God warns us - as will Jesus - by clearly affirming that there can be no settlement or agreement between serving God and serving wealth. The prophetic word sounds as a serious warning: people and nations that only seek their own interests, believing themselves to be masters of other people’s lives and of the world’s resources will be thrust "down to the Pit," because God lifts up "the lowly" and brings down the proud and scatters them "in the thoughts of their hearts" while he sends "the rich away empty." This reveals who we really are and what we all need to recognize ourselves to be: we are poor and weak men and women, not omnipotent gods. Ezekiel speaks this warning twice. He knows that in everyone’s heart is rooted the temptation to take God’s place, to become our own master in a delirium of omnipotence. In reality we are fragile, weak, and mortal. Let us go back to looking at our lives with humility to keep from giving in [or surrendering] to the temptation of power and wealth, which produces so much evil in the world and creates some many injustices and great misery.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord