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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Exodus 32,7-14

Yahweh then said to Moses, 'Go down at once, for your people whom you brought here from Egypt have become corrupt. They have quickly left the way which I ordered them to follow. They have cast themselves a metal calf, worshipped it and offered sacrifice to it, shouting, "Israel, here is your God who brought you here from Egypt!" ' Yahweh then said to Moses, 'I know these people; I know how obstinate they are! So leave me now, so that my anger can blaze at them and I can put an end to them! I shall make a great nation out of you instead.' Moses tried to pacify Yahweh his God. 'Yahweh,' he said, 'why should your anger blaze at your people, whom you have brought out of Egypt by your great power and mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, "He brought them out with evil intention, to slaughter them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth?" Give up your burning wrath; relent over this disaster intended for your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom you swore by your very self and made this promise: "I shall make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and this whole country of which I have spoken, I shall give to your descendants, and it will be their heritage for ever." ' Yahweh then relented over the disaster which he had intended to inflict on his people.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Israel is tired of following its God. Moses went up the mountain to meet Him and receive from Him the law, but he delayed to come down. What more normal then than getting another god, the "golden calf," to worship and to follow? The Lord knows; he knows the choices of his people, as he knows us and the daily idols we follow and worship, in order to continue listening to ourselves. Moses also knows and talks about it with the Lord. This on-going discussion of Moses with his God is beautiful. It indicates an intimacy and a familiarity as an example for believers. The Lord wants to build this intimacy with all his people, as we will see in chapter 33 when Moses meets God in the tent of meeting. The paradox of this new idol is the fact that Israel attributes to it the salvation wrought by God in freeing them from slavery in Egypt. How many times we forget what good God has done in our lives and we proudly claim merits and facts in a material reading of our story. This is why "the wrath of the Lord" turns against his people. God’s wrath shows that He does not remain indifferent to evil and injustice. "God’s wrath," wrote Heschel, "is the end of indifference." God does not tolerate our doing what we want with the gifts with which he has enriched our lives. This is why there is a judgment on what we have received, as Jesus will show in the parable of the talents. But Moses, despite being well aware of the sin of his people, does not want their end. He turns to God for mercy. The words Moses uses to try to convince God to give up the idea of destroying Israel are very beautiful and profound. First Moses reminds God of what He has done for Israel: freeing them from Egypt, emphasizing His wisdom and warning God from giving the enemies of his people reason to denigrate Him: "Why should the Egyptians say, ‘ It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth ‘?" Then Moses reminds the Lord of the ancient history of his people and the oath he swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob) that He would have made their offspring numerous and would give them the land. God cannot resist the prayer of His servant and "changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people." Great is the mercy of God, who in front of the prayer of intercession turns His gaze of benevolence toward men and women. In the Year of Mercy may each of us assume the same mercy of God, so that the wonders of His love may still be done.

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