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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 16,1-7

Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary calling to the seven angels, 'Go, and empty the seven bowls of God's anger over the earth.'

The first angel went and emptied his bowl over the earth; at once, on all the people who had been branded with the mark of the beast and had worshipped its statue, there came disgusting and virulent sores.

The second angel emptied his bowl over the sea, and it turned to blood, like the blood of a corpse, and every living creature in the sea died.

The third angel emptied his bowl into the rivers and springs of water and they turned into blood.

Then I heard the angel of water say, 'You are the Upright One, He who is, He who was, the Holy One, for giving this verdict:

they spilt the blood of the saints and the prophets, and blood is what you have given them to drink; it is what they deserve.'

And I heard the altar itself say, 'Truly, Lord God Almighty, the punishments you give are true and just.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

A loud voice, perhaps the voice of God himself, comes out of the heavenly temple that stands behind the seven angels charged with carrying out the last judgment of history. The voice orders them to "pour out" divine anger on the earth, emptying the "the seven bowls of the wrath of God." The images that unfold depict incredible upheavals described along the same lines as the plagues of Egypt. The whole of creation is enveloped, or better yet, shaken, by God’s anger. Out of those bowls flows the river of God’s wrath. "Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them" (Ps 69:24), the psalmist invokes, speaking a prayer often repeated with similar words by the prophet Jeremiah (10:25, 42:18, 44:6). It is not the anger of a vengeful God, but the anger of a God who sees his love betrayed and the consequences of this betrayal fall on the sinner and on creation itself. God’s anger involves the whole of creation, humanity and nature, the sea and the land. The sequence of the seven bowls poured on earth has begun: it is based on the preceding sequence of seven trumpets and the biblical plagues of Egypt. The first bowl strikes those who worship the Beast, those who consecrated themselves to evil, almost "baptizing" themselves in perversion. Just as Christian baptism is a sign of belonging to God, so for the wicked there is a "mark" that indicates belonging to the beast. The plague is "a foul and painful sore" (v. 2), a torment that lacerates the flesh of the sinner. The second bowl pours out its contents in the sea and immediately kills all of the sea creatures; an enormous part of the sea ceases to be a place of love and becomes a place of death. How can we not think about the dramatic pollution of the oceans? And we arrive at the third angel, who uses the contents of the third bowl to pollute the waters of the springs and rivers, perverting creation itself and its ability to support life. In effect, we can see in this the tragic lack of potable water that affects millions and millions of people today. At this point a sacred voice, coming from the sacrificial "altar" of the heavenly temple itself, exalts and approves of the divine action. The Lord of history holds the reigns of human experience in his hands and guides them with truth and justice towards a destination of light.

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