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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 17,10-13

And the disciples put this question to him, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?' He replied, 'Elijah is indeed coming, and he will set everything right again; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of man will suffer similarly at their hands.' Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel recounts the brief dialogue that took place between Jesus and the disciples after the transfiguration while they walked down Mount Tabor. Their conversation focused on one of the three men who appeared in the vision: the prophet Elijah. The disciples were becoming more and more convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. But the scribes continued to maintain the belief that Elijah would come before the Messiah. Indeed, it is written in the book of Malachi "Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse" (Mal 4:5-6). Jesus confirms this prophesy to his disciples, but says that Elijah has already come. Not only that, but Elijah's fate - "[they] did to him whatever they pleased" - foretells the fate of the Son of Man. People did not recognize him; indeed, they rejected him. The disciples believe he is talking about John the Baptist. This Gospel passage suggests that we all need someone to prepare the way to the Lord for us; to be a voice that cries out in the desert of this world and of our hearts to say that there is someone coming who truly loves us. We always need a prophet - an Elijah, a brother, a sister, - to speak to our ears and touch our heart so that we can be ready to welcome the Lord. Elijah is the Word of the Lord preached; he is the prophecy that continues to speak to us, even today. His word, as is written in the book of Sirach, is similar to fire: "his word burns like a torch." The fact that Elijah was taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire signifies that God's prophecy never dies. It continues today through the many witnesses who, by their word and example, continue to preach the urgency of love for God. We are all asked not to close our eyes so we can see the "signs of God;" not to shut our ears, so we can hear the Gospel, and not to close our hearts, to welcome the Lord who comes.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 14 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 15 January
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 16 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 17 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 18 January
Memory of the Church
Friday, 19 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 20 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday