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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

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

Isaiah 38,1-6.21-22.7-8

About then, Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, 'Yahweh says this, "Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live." ' Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to Yahweh, 'Ah, Yahweh, remember, I beg you, that I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what you regard as right.' And Hezekiah shed many tears. Then the word of Yahweh came to Isaiah, 'Go and say to Hezekiah, "Yahweh, the God of your ancestor David, says this: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I shall cure you: in three days' time you will go up to the Temple of Yahweh. I shall add fifteen years to your life. I shall save you and this city from the king of Assyria's clutches and defend this city for my sake and my servant David's sake." ' 'Bring a fig poultice,' Isaiah said, 'apply it to the ulcer and he will recover.' Hezekiah said, 'What is the sign to tell me that I shall be going up to the Temple of Yahweh?' 'Here', Isaiah replied, 'is the sign from Yahweh that he will do what he has said. Look, I shall make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the steps -- the steps to Ahaz's roof-room-go back ten steps.' And the sun went back the ten steps by which it had declined.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The story of illness and healing of Hezekiah paints the portrait of a king who puts all of his trust in God. Hezekiah turns to God when he is sick and near death, and he can truthfully remind him of his past loyalty and obedience and ask Him for a sign, not out of doubt, but as a way of accepting the divine promise. Hezekiah was a great king for his people. He had fought for Israel to return to the Lord and abandon its idols. But "in the noontide of my days I must depart," the king begins, "I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years." Even wise and righteous men and women are touched by the difficulties of life. The king is sick and addresses a heartfelt prayer to God, describing his pain and asking for help. "O Lord, I am oppressed; be my security," prays the king. He even wonders if it was the Lord who caused his pain, but he quickly prays, "Lord, my heart hopes in you...O restore me to health and make me live." Disease and difficulties are not a punishment from God. Job discovers this gradually, after having refuted the opinion of his three friends, who were trying to convince him that his suffering was caused by his sin. Sacred Scripture constantly teaches us to turn to God, to pray to Him in suffering and in difficulty, and to tell Him what is happening in our lives and our anxieties. God does not reject those who turn to him; he does not refuse the call for help that comes from the suffering people of the world. Like Hezekiah (and the same thing appears in many psalms) all we have to learn is to pray, to explain our pain and the pain of the world to God. God in his goodness comes to our aid, heals us, and saves us. The king’s supplication is given an answer by the prophet: the Lord has heard his prayer (v. 5), answered it, and extends it to Jerusalem: the Lord will also intervene on behalf of Jerusalem, and the king and the city will both be freed and protected (v. 6).

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday