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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Micah 7,14-15.18-20

With shepherd's crook lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forest with meadow land all round. Let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old! As in the days when you came out of Egypt, grant us to see wonders! What god can compare with you for pardoning guilt and for overlooking crime? He does not harbour anger for ever, since he delights in showing faithful love. Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults; throw all our sins to the bottom of the sea. Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your faithful love, as you swore to our ancestors from the days of long ago.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The book of Micah ends with these words of hope. The prophet calls on God who, like a shepherd, cares for his flock, Israel: "Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land." And he is aware that the Lord has taken care of them since he brought them out of Egypt, freeing them from the slavery of the Pharaoh. With the image of the shepherd, the prophet evokes his attentive and thoughtful care, the way he preserves the unity of the flock, which would otherwise be scattered, and how he defends the lives of the sheep even at the cost of his life. And he calls on the Shepherd to continue to act on his people’s behalf. There are two ways that this divine intervention should take form. The Lord is a shepherd who forgives: "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression, of the remnant of your possession?" These words recall the shepherd of Psalm 23 and the book of Ezekiel (Ez 33). It is also as a shepherd who continues to love his people: "He will again have compassion upon us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea." The Lord is truly the good shepherd who takes care of his people, starting with forgiveness. These words resound in all their loving strength in this jubilee year of mercy. The Lord’s forgiveness, more than anything else, reveals who the God of Israel is and how distant he is from every idol. The Lord’s forgiveness is so powerful that it not only takes sin away form the human heart, but it casts it so far away that it is no longer remembered. Micah cannot seem to find the right words to describe God’s mercy. The image of the shepherd will be taken up again by Jesus: he presents himself as the shepherd who knows his sheep, calls them by name, and brings them into the fold. And if one gets lost, he leaves all the rest in the fold to go and search for it. And he binds up the wounded and heals the sick (Jn 10). Let us pray to the Lord to let us hear the voice of this good shepherd and become one flock, led by him alone and learning to live by his mercy.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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