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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

Galatians 4,22-24.26-27.31-5,1

Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave girl and one by the freewoman. The son of the slave girl came to be born in the way of human nature; but the son of the freewoman came to be born through a promise. There is an allegory here: these women stand for the two covenants. The one given on Mount Sinai -- that is Hagar, whose children are born into slavery; But the Jerusalem above is free, and that is the one that is our mother; as scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren woman who has borne no children! Break into shouts of joy, you who were never in labour. For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number than the sons of the wedded wife. So, brothers, we are the children not of the slave girl but of the freewoman. Christ set us free, so that we should remain free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be fastened again to the yoke of slavery.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In order to convince the Galatians not to fall back into slavery to the law, Paul takes up the story of the Book of Genesis about the "two sons of Abraham": Ishmael, son of the slave Hagar, the concubine, and Isaac, the son of the free Sarah, mistress and legitimate wife. The difference between the two sons is not that they have two different mothers, rather that they have been generated in a different way: Ishmael was born according to the natural way of generation; Isaac, instead, "through the promise." So Paul states that all this happened in ‘allegory’ of what actually would happen in the future. Hagar, the slave, represents the Sinai covenant that "bears children to [the] slavery" to the law (which reminds Arabia to Paul). Sarah, however, represents the free woman, and she is "our mother" located in the "Jerusalem above." From this second Jerusalem Christians receive freedom. Therefore, as sons and daughters of the free woman, we are called to live free from the law. This - says Paul - is what Isaiah, the prophet of the exile, already sang: the barren woman shouts of joy because a numberless progeny is granted to her. Sarah, barren and despised, has become, through the intervention of God, the mother of a great people. Paul reminds the Galatians that they are "children of promise" as Isaac was, and thus they are not to look back at their condition as slaves. Unfortunately what happened between Ishmael and Isaac, that the children of the earthly Jerusalem persecute those of "the Jerusalem above," can be repeated. But this shows that the free children are the heirs of the promise, in spite of present difficulties. Christians must keep this exhortation in their heart knowing that the present difficulties should not distract our eyes from the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are headed.

Memory of the Poor

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