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The Everyday Prayer

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

Prayer for the unity of the Churches.  Particular memory of the Churches and ecclesial communities (Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal).

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Tobit 2,1-8

In the reign of Esarhaddon, therefore, I returned home, and my wife Anna was restored to me with my son Tobias. At our feast of Pentecost (the feast of Weeks) there was a good dinner. I took my place for the meal;

the table was brought to me and various dishes were brought. I then said to my son Tobias, 'Go, my child, and seek out some poor, loyal-hearted man among our brothers exiled in Nineveh, and bring him to share my meal. I will wait until you come back, my child.'

So Tobias went out to look for some poor man among our brothers, but he came back again and said, 'Father!' I replied, 'What is it, my child?' He went on, 'Father, one of our nation has just been murdered; he has been strangled and then thrown down in the market place; he is there still.'

I sprang up at once, left my meal untouched, took the man from the market place and laid him in one of my rooms, waiting until sunset to bury him.

I came in again and washed myself and ate my bread in sorrow,

remembering the words of the prophet Amos concerning Bethel: I shall turn your festivals into mourning and all your singing into lamentation.

And I wept. When the sun was down, I went and dug a grave and buried him.

My neighbours laughed and said, 'See! He is not afraid any more.' (You must remember that a price had been set on my head earlier for this very thing.) 'Once before he had to flee, yet here he is, beginning to bury the dead again.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage takes us back in relation to the preceding episode. The narrator is trying to depict Tobit as another Job: even greater misfortunes are added to the ones he has already suffered. On the feast of Pentecost, the day when the Israelites remember the gift of the Law, Tobit asks his son, Tobias, to invite some poor people to the festive dinner, as required by the Mosaic Law (cfr. Deut 16:11). After he goes out, the son returns and says that there has been another execution and that the corpse of a strangled Jew is lying in the middle of the street. Without wasting any time, Tobit gets up from the table, leaves the banquet, goes to the place where the Jew is lying, and buries him. After completing the burial, he cannot go back inside his house because he first has to observe all of the purification rituals prescribed by the law (cfr. Num 19:14-16). This act of love will be the cause of Tobit’s trouble. To understand what is happening, Tobit cites the same words spoken by the prophet Amos against Bethel, which describe his situation: "I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation" (Am 8:10). The text translates into the passive voice ("shall be turned") a verb that is in the active voice ("I will change") and that is spoken directly by the mouth of God in Amos. But Tobit knows well that it is not God who sends evil; here, his attitude is similar to Job’s. Obviously this does not eliminate the bitterness of knowing that he has fallen into misfortune, even though he has helped the poor. Instead of helping him, his neighbours mock him for his excessively charitable behaviour. Their reaction is emblematic: they maintain that Tobit needs to become shrewder; that is, he needs to look out for himself more and not waste time burying the dead. It is a cynical and selfish attitude, and, unfortunately, a common one, which leads people to mock those who act with mercy.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday