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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

Proverbs 21,1-6.10-13

Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's hand; he directs it wherever he pleases. All actions are straight in the doer's own eyes, but it is Yahweh who weighs hearts. To do what is upright and just is more pleasing to Yahweh than sacrifice. Haughty eye, proud heart, lamp of the wicked, nothing but sin. The hardworking is thoughtful, and all is gain; too much haste, and all that comes of it is want. To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue: such is the idle fantasy of those who look for death. The soul of the wicked is intent on evil, to such a person no neighbour can ever do right. When a cynic is punished, simpletons grow wiser, but someone of understanding acquires knowledge by instruction. The Upright One watches the house of the wicked; he hurls the wicked to destruction. Whoever refuses to listen to the cry of the weak, will in turn plead and not be heard.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s passage lists a series of proverbs that, without following a particular order, address the virtues that should be practiced, and oppose the righteous and the wicked. If the believer wants to the wisdom of the heart, he or she must humbly learn each day how to identify what is righteous in God’s eyes and practice it. For people without discernment, for superficial people who only focus on themselves or on their own priorities, everything is fine, because deep down they think they are the ones who decide what is good or bad. The sacred author warns: "All deeds are right in the sight of the doer." But in truth, it is not so, because it is the Lord who determines whether these deeds lead to life or death: "the Lord weighs the heart." The wise are those who try to see the world’s events through God’s own eyes, letting themselves be illuminated by the Word of God, which should nourish them every day. The text warns us not to let ourselves be guided by greed, self-love, or lust for possessions. It calls people back to the practice of justice and fairness. Not only is it not possible to separate worship from working for justice and fairness, the author even suggests that justice and fairness are superior to worship. Wisdom - which descends directly from God - requires compassion and mercy: "The souls of the wicked desire evil; their neighbours find no mercy in their eyes." It is a clear condemnation of a haughty heart that cannot be moved by those in need. In this light, the conclusion of the passage, which illuminates all that we have heard, seems even stronger. It is vital for the wise to pay attention to the poor. Their cry, the sacred author concludes - never leaves God’s heart indifferent. Believers must learn from God how to favour the poor, knowing that their own relationship with God depends on it. The sacred author affirms, "If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard."

Memory of the Mother of the Lord