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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

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

Genesis 17,3-9

And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as follows, 'For my part, this is my covenant with you: you will become the father of many nations. And you are no longer to be called Abram; your name is to be Abraham, for I am making you father of many nations. I shall make you exceedingly fertile. I shall make you into nations, and your issue will be kings. And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, as a covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And to you and to your descendants after you, I shall give the country where you are now immigrants, the entire land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity. And I shall be their God.' God further said to Abraham, 'You for your part must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.


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

The experience of exile and foreign domination - the era in which the Biblical passage of which we just heard a part was written - had reduced Israel to a small remnant for whom God’s promise to become a great and numerous people with a fertile land to live in, a stable country where they could prosper, and a safe place where they could live in peace was being sorely put to the test. In these times of slavery, deprivation, and suffering - which is what happens to the Jewish people every time they stray from God to follow other gods - the people of Israel remember the ancient promises - the "everlasting covenant" made by God with Abraham, to make him "the ancestor of a multitude of nations" and to inhabit the land of Canaan: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant" (v. 6-7). In recalling this covenant, the people of Israel do not simply remember an ancient memory, they do not just return to the memory of a glorious past: they make the promise real in the present time. So it is every time people listen to the Scriptures, even for us, the disciples of Jesus. When we open up the book of the Holy Scriptures, especially in moments of community prayer, it is the Lord who once again comes among his people and speaks to us; he reestablishes us as a people who listen to his Word, strengthens us with his Spirit, gives us his dream again, reinvigorates our vocation to be witnesses of his love in the world, and assures us of his promise for the future. Of course, the covenant also requires a commitment on our part, not just as individuals, but as a people. Not a simply legal covenant like a pact that might be made between strangers. It is a covenant of love, freely-given love. It is God in fact who first decided to offer it freely to us, who would not be even capable of imagining it. That is why God can ask Abraham - and us: "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations" (v. 9).????

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