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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr (+258). He pointed to the poor as the true treasure of the Church. Memorial of those who serve them in the name of the Gospel.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ezekiel 9,1-7; 10,18-22

Then he shouted loudly for me to hear, 'The scourges of the city are approaching, each carrying his weapon of destruction!' Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. Among them was a man dressed in linen, with a scribe's ink-horn in his belt. They came in and halted in front of the bronze altar. The glory of the God of Israel rose from above the winged creature where it had been, towards the threshold of the Temple. He called to the man dressed in linen with a scribe's ink-horn in his belt and Yahweh said to him, 'Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who grieve and lament over all the loathsome practices in it.' I heard him say to the others, 'Follow him through the city and strike. Not one glance of pity; show no mercy; old men, young men, girls, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the old men who were in the Temple. He said to them, 'Defile the Temple; fill the courts with corpses; then go out!' They went out and hacked their way through the city. The glory of Yahweh then came out over the Temple threshold and paused over the winged creatures. These raised their wings and rose from the ground as I watched, and the wheels were beside them. They paused at the entrance to the east gate of the Temple of Yahweh, with the glory of the God of Israel over them, above. This was the winged creature I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the River Chebar; I knew that they were winged creatures. Each had four faces and four wings and what seemed to be human hands under their wings. Their faces were like those I had seen by the River Chebar. Each one moved straight forward.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s reading is made up of two passages, taken from chapters nine and ten, containing two of Ezekiel’s visions. The first tells of how the Lord sent messengers to punish the sinful city, while preserving a remnant, while the second shows the glory of the Lord coming out of the profaned Temple. The prophet had seen with his own eyes the destruction caused by the Babylonian army in the streets of Jerusalem. Now he is experiencing the suffering of exile along with many other Jews, and, with God’s eyes, he sees what is about to happen to the city because of the hardness of heart of the king Zedekiah. The prophet’s description is stark and dramatic. He reads it as God’s punishment of the people’s betrayal of the covenant. Using less stark and perhaps for us more comprehensible language, we could say that it is not God who punishes: the destruction of the city, with the cruelty that accompanies it, is not the work of God. It is the bitter and terrible consequence of human behaviour when people let themselves by guided by the spirit of Evil. Even today, the "evil one" never stops his work of destruction, and he finds followers who let themselves be enslaved and so become instruments of destruction and death. In his vision, Ezekiel speaks of six men, sent to exterminate the city and eliminate all those who let themselves be seduced by evil. No one was to be spared, except those who longed for peace and justice and had not betrayed the covenant with God. That is why there is a seventh messenger, dressed in linen because of his closeness to God, whose task it is to go before the others and mark those who were to be saved with a "tau" (at that time it was shaped like a cross and was the first letter of the Hebrew word "Torah"). They are a remnant, like the children of Israel saved by the angel of the Lord on the night of the Passover in Egypt (Ex 12:23-29), like the seven thousand who did not kneel down before Baal in the time of Elias (1 K 19:18) and like the disciples of Isaiah (Is 8:16-17). The Christian spiritual tradition has read this "tau" - written like a cross - as a sign of Jesus, who saves those who let themselves be involved in his love. At the end of the vision, Ezekiel, who was bound to the Temple, witnesses an event that breaks his heart: the glory of the Lord leaves the sanctuary and the city. Anything that will come from the Lord to his people in the future will not come from the Temple. That is the prophet’s mission: the people of Israel will encounter the Lord through his preaching. This responsibility continues today for all of Jesus’ disciples.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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