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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Benedict (†547), father of western monks and their guide through the rule that carries his name.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 49, 29-33; 50,15-26

Then he gave them these instructions, 'I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors, in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

in the cave in the field at Machpelah, facing Mamre, in Canaan, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site of his own.

There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried. There Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah-

the field and the cave in it which were bought from the Hittites.'

When Jacob had finished giving his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, and breathing his last was gathered to his people.

Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers said, 'What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and pay us back for all the wrong we did him?'

So they sent this message to Joseph: 'Before your father died, he gave us this order:

"You are to say to Joseph: Now please forgive the crime and faults of your brothers and all the wrong they did you." So now please forgive the crime of the servants of your father's God.' Joseph wept at the message they sent to him.

Then his brothers went to him themselves and, throwing themselves at his feet, said, 'Take us as your slaves!'

But Joseph replied, 'Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God's place?

The evil you planned to do me has by God's design been turned to good, to bring about the present result: the survival of a numerous people.

So there is no need to be afraid; I shall provide for you and your dependants.' In this way he reassured them by speaking affectionately to them.

So Joseph stayed in Egypt with his father's family; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years.

Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim's line, as also the children of Machir son of Manasseh, who were born on Joseph's lap.

At length Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am about to die; but God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you out of this country to the country which he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.'

And Joseph put Israel's sons on oath, saying, 'When God remembers you with kindness, be sure to take my bones away from here.'

Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten; he was embalmed and laid in a coffin in Egypt.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jacob has found his beloved son, Joseph. He asks his family to bury him where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah also lie. Death is described as reuniting with ancestors. Just as we are given life in the midst of a story, so too death is a birth into a life where we rediscover those who bore us, together with the One who is the creator and author of life. Joseph’s brothers begin to be afraid. Despite the reconciliation that had occurred between them and their brother, sin still causes fear. It causes us to see evil where there is none; it becomes a shadow that conditions us, fills us with mistrust and suspicion, encourages thinking evil, and inspires us to protect ourselves. And they reveal how little they believe in love and forgiveness. Sin always seems more convincing than forgiveness. Fear arises among the brothers because they are still aware of their sin. They wonder whether Joseph will treat them as enemies after their father’s death, returning to them all the evil that they had done to him. In the end they feel defenceless without their father, that father whom they had humiliated by killing Joseph himself. They try to defend themselves using their father to defend the fraternity that they themselves had destroyed. We often think we are intelligent and prudent enough to defend ourselves form evil. But in reality we remain its prisoners. The brothers have difficulty believing in reconciliation and mercy. And in the end, they still think that Joseph follows the same logic as they do. But Joseph truly is different, and, like all men and women who are truly believers and respectful of paternity, he does not let himself be conditioned by evil, which always has long and deep roots. Joseph knows his weakness, and reveals how aware he is of his humility, the humility that people often forget, believing themselves to be God, and puffing themselves up with pride and power. He knows he is not God! “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” Evil multiples evil and pollutes love, but only love can break its chains and the reasoning that sustains it. Joseph consoles his family. Love frees them from the long shadows of sin, which without reconciliation would still leave such a mark even after so many years. Not only does Joseph not treat them as slaves, as they had done to him, he continues to protect them through future difficulties. He has visions to the end and teaches them to trust in God, who will come to visit them and will bring them out of Egypt to the land he promised with an oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joseph’s strength is nothing other than his faith in God. That is the strength of believers.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday