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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

1 Samuel 24,3-21

Saul thereupon took three thousand men selected from all Israel and went in search of David and his men east of the Rocks of the Mountain Goats. He came to the sheepfolds along the route, where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave; David's men said to him, 'Today is the day of which Yahweh said to you, "I shall deliver your enemy into your power; do what you like with him." ' David got up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul's cloak. Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul's cloak. He said to his men, 'Yahweh preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord as to raise my hand against him, since he is Yahweh's anointed.' By these words David restrained his men and would not let them attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way. After this, David too left the cave and called after Saul, 'My lord king!' Saul looked behind him and David, bowing to the ground, prostrated himself. David then said to Saul, 'Why do you listen to people who say, "David intends your ruin"? This very day you have seen for yourself how Yahweh put you in my power in the cave and how, refusing to kill you, I spared you saying, "I will not raise my hand against my lord, since he is Yahweh's anointed." Look, father, look at the border of your cloak in my hand. Since, although I cut the border off your cloak, I did not kill you, surely you realise that I intend neither mischief nor crime. I have not wronged you, and yet you hunt me down to take my life. May Yahweh be judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you; but I shall never lay a hand on you! (As the old proverb says: Wickedness comes out of wicked people, but I shall never lay a hand on you!) On whose trail is the king of Israel campaigning? Whom are you pursuing? On the trail of a dead dog, of a flea! May Yahweh be the judge and decide between me and you; may he examine and defend my cause and give judgement for me by rescuing me from your clutches!' When David had finished saying this to Saul, Saul said, 'Is that your voice, my son David?' And Saul began to weep aloud. 'You are upright and I am not,' he said to David, 'since you have behaved well to me, whereas I have behaved badly to you. And today you have shown how well you have behaved to me, since Yahweh had put me in your power but you did not kill me. When a man comes on his enemy, does he let him go unmolested? May Yahweh reward you for the good you have done me today! Now I know that you will indeed reign and that the sovereignty in Israel will pass into your hands.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Having returned from pursuing the Philistines, Saul resumes his pursuit of David, who, in the meantime, had taken refuge in the region of En-gedi. Saul’s forces are much stronger than David’s small band. But the scene as it is described reverses their roles. "Saul," the sacred author writes, "went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave" (v. 4). In so doing, Saul positions himself to be eliminated by David. David’s followers are convinced that the Lord had prepared this moment: "Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you’" (v. 5). This sentence seems to suggest that David will eliminate his enemy. But David does not want the death of Saul. Rather, he wants him to change his behaviour: he only cuts a corner of Saul’s cloak, so that he may reflect and mend his ways. Saul realizes that he is at the mercy of David who however does not take advantage of the situation. Immediately—the text reads—David "was stricken to the heart" for what he had done to the king "for he is the Lord’s anointed" (v. 7). David scolds his men and does not permit them to attack Saul. David also comes out of the cave and addresses Saul with respectful, but authoritative words: "This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you" (v. 10). Indeed, David could have "destroyed him" but does not out of respect for Saul as well as out of obedience to God. He wants to convince Saul of his innocence and of his unwavering respect for him: he calls him "king" as well as "my father." He makes a speech to prove that he is completely innocent. He asks the king to abandon his murderous passion and anger and to consider the evidence and let God’s justice prevail (v. 12). It should therefore not fall upon him that he be like a dead dog or a flea. He calls upon God to act as judge between them. Saul hears David’s words and responds by calling him "my son." And he bursts into tears (v. 16). He weeps over David, and also for having let himself be guided by the "evil spirit." He says to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil" (v. 17). He adds, "For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away" (v. 19)? Saul recognizes David as a king. David’s love defeated Saul’s malice and brought him to accept God’s will and pray that his descendants not be wiped away.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday