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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest of the sixteenth Century, who was a missionary in India and Japan.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Maccabees 1, 41-53

The king then issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each nation renouncing its particular customs.

All the gentiles conformed to the king's decree,

and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the Sabbath.

The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country,

banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts,

defiling the sanctuary and everything holy,

building altars, shrines and temples for idols, sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts,

leaving their sons uncircumcised, and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination,

so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it.

Anyone not obeying the king's command was to be put to death.

Writing in such terms to every part of his kingdom, the king appointed inspectors for the whole people and directed all the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice city by city.

Many of the people -- that is, every apostate from the Law -- rallied to them and so committed evil in the country,

forcing Israel into hiding in any possible place of refuge.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In imposing his authority on the different peoples of his kingdom, Antiochus sought to unify the customs, culture and religion; the text says, “Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that all should give up their particular customs.” On a religious point of view he imposed on all—the Jews included—the cult to Jupiter Olympus to whom Antiochus was so devoted that he thought of himself as Jupiter’s living incarnation. Through a series of decrees imposed on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judea Antiochus “directed them to follow customs strange to the land” and cease every act of temple worship and other acts of Jewish religious faith. Whoever disobeyed risked being put to death. Indeed, this was a true dictatorship that even precluded religious freedom. In the last century, but also in the beginning of this millennium there are some examples; unfortunately, we have seen many dramatic examples of dictatorships that deprive people of the civil liberties, including professing their own faith. In Antiochus’ dictatorship, the thirst for power becomes so great that he even sees himself as a god. This is a recurrent temptation in history, for we see it manifest in many ways. Pride and might can lead to prevarication that can assume religious proportions because they exalt an “I” that crushes other people. Every generation and every time must /be vigilant against this kind of “ego dictatorship.” Places and societies may change but the conclusion is always the same: the ego crushes other people. In regard to the dictatorial regimes of the past century, today the dictatorship of materialism and money seems to dominate to the point of becoming virtually a religion on whose altar people sacrifice their entire lives. It is a dictatorship that is invisible but no less present and strong. When we push aside our reference to God, there is no limit to the misuse of power of a single person or group; therefore, prevarication becomes easier and living together in a lasting peace more difficult. Only recognizing a common father, indeed God, can enable men and women of diverse backgrounds and cultures to live peacefully and respectfully together. God entrusted first to Israel and then to the Church the mission to communicate to the world the existence of the one God and father of all people. This is a task that unites both religions. Indeed, Jews and Christians have together a universal mission: to communicate the one God, creator and father of all, to a world whose people find it hard to live in peace and harmony.

Memory of the Church

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