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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

Psalm 33, 10-15

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
  he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

11 The counsel of the Lord stands for ever,
  the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
  the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
  he sees all humankind.

14 From where he sits enthroned he watches
  all the inhabitants of the earth—

15 he who fashions the hearts of them all,
  and observes all their deeds.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The six verses of psalm 33 that the liturgy places on our lips begin with an affirmation of God’s sovereignty over human history. Illuminated by the Spirit, the believer reads the human story in depth and recognizes the hand of God that accompanies it over the centuries. Men and women – especially when they let themselves be led by their pride and thirst for domination – believe they guide history. They are convinced that the conquests they have gained through the abuse of power are solid and lasting. In reality, these conquests have feet of clay. The psalmist reminds us, “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing” (v. 10). The Lord alone is a solid rock on which we can build our future, whether personal or collective, because “The counsel of the Lord stands for ever” (v. 11). Every page of the Holy Scriptures tells of the faithfulness of God’s love for his creatures God’s bond with them is indissoluble; it will never be broken. But, unfortunately, our infidelities and betrayals are infinite, as we know from personal experience, but the Lord never abandons us, he never stops loving us and coming to help us. The words of the psalmist as he speaks of God on his throne in heaven are beautiful, and, more importantly, true: “He sees all humankind” (v. 13). The Lord is not far off, concentrated on himself and forgetful of men and women and his people, leaving them at the mercy of evil. No, the psalmist reiterates, “From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth” (v. 14), seeing into the depths of their hearts. And he remains steadfast in his love for us. Moreover, the psalmist reminds us that the Lord “who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds” (v. 15). He is more intimate with us than we are with ourselves. But his gaze is not that of an implacable judge, ready to judge and condemn. No, God is a Father who looks upon his children to protect them, to save them from evil and oppression. God’s gaze, as the psalmist reminds us, is not a threatening gaze, ready to condemn. Of course the Lord sees sin and the weakness of men and women but he sees “to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (v. 19). God looks at us from heaven to save us, not to condemn us. Not only do the words of the psalm not sadden us, they bring joy to the hearts of believers, because they can sing of God’s faithfulness. This is the source of the beatitude of the people chosen by God to communicate his salvation to all: “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage” (v. 12). It is a beatitude that is closely linked to the missionary vocation that the Lord entrusts to his people: he has chosen them to bring his love to all.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday