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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 37,1-14

The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by the spirit of Yahweh and set me down in the middle of the valley, a valley full of bones. He made me walk up and down and all around among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the floor of the valley; and they were completely dry. He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'You know, Lord Yahweh.' He said, 'Prophesy over these bones. Say, "Dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh. The Lord Yahweh says this to these bones: I am now going to make breath enter you, and you will live. I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will know that I am Yahweh." ' I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a clattering sound; it was the bones coming together. And as I looked, they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, yet there was no breath in them. He said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, "The Lord Yahweh says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead, so that they come to life!" ' I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army. Then he said, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, "Our bones are dry, our hope has gone; we are done for." So, prophesy. Say to them, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I am now going to open your graves; I shall raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people, and put my spirit in you, and you revive, and I resettle you on your own soil. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done this -- 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 hand of the Lord "brings [the prophet] out" in spirit to show him a valley filled with dry bones. Who are these bones? "These bones are the whole house of Israel," the Lord tells the prophet, "They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’" It seems like we are listening to the words of many people in our world, women and men who have lost hope, poor people whose lives have dried up in pain and a lack of love, elderly people left alone to die in a nursing home, people dried up by war and misery. Yes, this valley of dry bones does not seem very different from our world. Sometimes feelings dry up, mercy fades away, and hope fails. Pessimism and a sense of victimization take control of our hearts and the future appears dark. Is it possible for these dry bones to come back to life? We are often people of the impossible. We do not believe that the world can change, that what is dried out can rise, or that what is destroyed can be rebuilt. How often do we notice the dryness around us, even within our own lives, but we are almost afraid of it and pass by? Today the Word of God issues us an invitation, almost a command: "‘Prophesy to these bones...O dry bones...I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live." As in the story of creation, the spirit of God, can make dry bones come to life - it can restore life. The spirit comes from the four winds, from the four corners of the world, as if to say that the Word of God creates a new centre, a new life. But we need prophets, people of the Word, who know how to speak to those dry bones. And this dryness can be overcome in unity, communion, and encounter with that which was dry and scattered. The spirit gathers men and women into a people. It makes men and women who are dry because they are divided and distant from each other into one, living people. Indeed, division is like death, a tomb for oneself and for the world. In the Risen Lord we receive the Holy Spirit, which makes us prophets capable of bringing dry bones back to life to rebuild the holy people, of which the Lord has made us a part. We recognize that it is the Lord, as the disciples did after his death and resurrection. Lord, continue to give us your Spirit so that we can live again, leaving behind our dryness, and so that, through your Word, we can make the many dry bones around us live again as well.

Memory of Jesus crucified

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