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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Ezekiel 18,21-28

'If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and upright, he will most certainly live; he will not die. None of the crimes he committed will be remembered against him from then on; he will most certainly live because of his upright actions. Would I take pleasure in the death of the wicked -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live? 'But if the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong by copying all the loathsome practices of the wicked, is he to live? All his upright actions will be forgotten from then on; for the infidelity of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, he will most certainly die. 'Now, you say, "What the Lord does is unjust." Now listen, House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong and dies, he dies because of the wrong which he himself has done. Similarly, when the wicked abandons wickedness to become law-abiding and upright, he saves his own life. Having chosen to renounce all his previous crimes, he will most certainly live: he will not die.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The prophet Ezekiel responds to a proverb found at the beginning of chapter 18: "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge." And he also responds to what we read in verse 19: "Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?" This way of thinking is still very common today, when a person is judged because of the origin of his or her family or because of some evil committed by someone else. And often such judgment becomes a condemnation that marks a person for life. The word of the prophet instead insists with extreme clarity that the responsibility for good and evil is always personal. No one can be considered righteous or wicked because of the evil committed by someone else. God is ready to forgive all those who convert, if they change their hearts and their behaviour, if they stop doing evil and strive to do good. The text reveals the great mercy of God, who permits everyone to change and convert: "When the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die." God’s mercy has no limits, because the Lord is always ready to forgive. But it is essential for men and women to come back to their senses, to recognize the evil hidden in their hearts, and to turn to God with faith if they want God to listen to them and help them. This is also true for the righteous who stray from the path of goodness: "When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die." The prophet helps us understand that we are all called to keep watch over ourselves every day, because we have to choose between good and evil every day. No one is righteous or good in and of himself. No one is evil in and of himself. Each one of us has to take responsibility for our actions and choices before God. God is always ready to forgive, but He asks each one of us to be responsible for what we do. In the face of good and evil, the certainty of being righteous and good is not in and of itself a guarantee of life and goodness.

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