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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 8, 1-5

The principal point of all that we have said is that we have a high priest of exactly this kind. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of divine Majesty in the heavens,

and he is the minister of the sanctuary and of the true Tent which the Lord, and not any man, set up.

Every high priest is constituted to offer gifts and sacrifices, and so this one too must have something to offer.

In fact, if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are others who make the offerings laid down by the Law,

though these maintain the service only of a model or a reflection of the heavenly realities; just as Moses, when he had the Tent to build, was warned by God who said: See that you work to the design that was shown you on the mountain.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Continuing his reflection on the centrality of the new “high priest” for the Church, the author affirms that Jesus carries out this task not on earth but in heaven: “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent that the Lord, and not any mortal, has set up.” We are in a new dimension of worship: Jesus is not a priest in the manner of the Levites who officiated in the temple to offer to God the things of the earth. In fact – the letter continues – Jesus would never have been able to be priest on earth, for in the temple offerings and sacrifices are prescribed by law, while Jesus offered himself once and for all and thus inaugurated a new worship according to the laws of heaven. Probably the author takes the images of the heavenly sanctuary from apocalyptic literature that was rather widespread in his time. But already in the Book of Wisdom it is noted that the temple in Jerusalem is “a copy of the holy tent that you prepared from the beginning” (Wis 9:8). Some rabbis even thought that the heavenly sanctuary was right in front of the terrestrial one, and that there was a strict correspondence between the service of the angels in heaven and that of the priests on earth. There is, in effect, a link between the worship on earth and that in heaven. The Letter states that Jesus is the high priest of the true tabernacle, which includes both earth and heaven, while the priests of the temple offer their service in a sanctuary that is only the figure of the true tabernacle. And if the tabernacle of Moses was simply a human work, God has erected in Christ the true tabernacle, the holy and definitive temple: the community of believers. For this reason the covenant between God and human beings, mediated through Jesus the high priest, is superior to the preceding. The “promises” of the new covenant are extraordinary because they bring heaven on to the earth; they establish a new time and create a new people who witness the salvation of God. Already the prophet Jeremiah spoke of four future promises: “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” In the new temple inaugurated by Christ the law is no more written on stones, as happened in the Sinai, but in the hearts of the disciples through the Spirit poured into their hearts, and they will live a deep communion with God and with the brothers and sisters and will become the new people who witness love and forgiveness for all.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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