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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

Ezekiel 16,1-15.60.63

The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her loathsome practices! Say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: By origin and birth you belong to the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. At birth, the very day you were born, there was no one to cut your navel-string, or wash you in water to clean you, or rub you with salt, or wrap you in swaddling clothes. No one looked at you with pity enough to do any of these things out of sympathy for you. You were exposed in the open fields in your own dirt on the day you were born. "I saw you kicking on the ground in your blood as I was passing, and I said to you as you lay in your blood: Live! and I made you grow like the grass of the fields. You developed, you grew, you reached marriageable age. Your breasts became firm and your hair grew richly, but you were stark naked. Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come, the time for love. I spread my cloak over you and covered your nakedness; I gave you my oath, I made a covenant with you -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- and you became mine. I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil. I gave you embroidered dresses, fine leather shoes, a linen headband and a cloak of silk. I loaded you with jewels, gave you bracelets for your wrists and a necklace for your throat. I gave you nose-ring and earrings; I put a beautiful diadem on your head. You were loaded with gold and silver and dressed in linen and silk and brocade. Your food was the finest flour, honey and oil. You grew more and more beautiful; and you rose to be queen. The fame of your beauty spread through the nations, since it was perfect, because I had clothed you with my own splendour -- declares the Lord Yahweh. "But you became infatuated with your own beauty and used your fame to play the whore, lavishing your debauchery on all comers. but I shall remember my covenant with you when you were a girl and shall conclude a covenant with you that will last for ever. and so remember and feel ashamed and in your confusion be reduced to silence, when I forgive you for everything you have done -- declares the Lord Yahweh." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet describes the story of God’s covenant with his people using the metaphor of a king who rescues a new-born baby girl abandoned on the side of the road and takes care of her and raises her to make her his queen, even though she continues to sell herself as prostitute to other men. Through this metaphor, the prophet wants the people to become aware of their sin and especially of how great God’s love for them is. The sadness of exile in which the people of Israel find themselves is nothing other than the bitter consequence of their betrayal of their covenant with God. Recognizing our sin, our weakness, and the need for help and support that we all have is the prerequisite for being able to turn to God and ask for his help. In any case, the sad story of this baby abandoned at birth - we still hear about new-born babies abandoned in the bushes or even in dumpsters - is not meant to emphasize the unfortunate condition of the baby, but rather God’s decision to rescue and take care of her without ever abandoning her. Indeed, God made her a queen. The entire history of Israel - even if the people often forget - is marked by God’s love, which never abandons his people, despite their continued betrayal. The description of how the Lord is moved at the young girl’s growth is beautiful. God’s love accompanies us through the years and at the various stages of our lives finds ways to help us grow. The repetition of the phrase, "I passed by you again and looked on you" in the story demonstrates the continuity of a love that sees and does not pass by but rather stops and offers the help we need. The prophet’s words not only reveal the continuity of God’s mercy for his people and for each one of us, but also the fact that his mercy never fades through the different ages of our life and the different situations and circumstances in which we find ourselves. The Lord’s love is not just any love. It is a love that sees, a love that is moved, and a love that understands our lives more deeply than we do or can. If we trust in this love - despite all of our betrayals - we will be surrounded by it. God’s mercy is our salvation, not our faithfulness. Blessed are we if we let ourselves be seduced by such love.

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