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The Everyday Prayer

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

The prayer for peace is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

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 124, 1-8

1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
  —let Israel now say—

2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
  when our enemies attacked us,

3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
  when their anger was kindled against us;

4 then the flood would have swept us away,
  the torrent would have gone over us;

5 then over us would have gone
  the raging waters.

6 Blessed be the Lord,
  who has not given us
  as prey to their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird
  from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
  and we have escaped.

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
  who made heaven and earth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 124 is a common, choral proclamation of salvation, which becomes real as it is sung. The psalmist is a man who has experienced the power of evil even to the point of feeling near death: his enemies would have swallowed him alive, like the stormy waters that drown and submerge everything. Perhaps he refers to a war (“when our enemies attacked us”), from whose violence he escaped. For the psalmist, it is clear that his survival is due to God’s intervention. He repeats twice: “If it had not been the Lord who was at our side” (v. 1). Many times in the psalms we see people who, in difficult situations, such as illness, hostility or oppression, experience the liberating force of God. In psalm 118 a man surrounded by enemies sings of the mercy of God who saved him. And, psalm 71 sings of an elderly man who in his weakness finds refuge and repose in God, though everyone around him said that there was no hope for him. The submerging waters recall the Gospel episode of the disciples frightened by the storm (Mk 4:35-41). They were caught by anguish for the waves battering their boat and they turned to Jesus who was asleep: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” What would have happened if the Lord had not been with them? Like the tempestuous sea, life’s difficulties seem to overwhelm us, making us think that we cannot make it and we will be overwhelmed. Our prayers to the Lord sometimes end up being reproachful. All too easily we forget about the loving presence of the Lord near us, just as the disciples who thought that Jesus was not concerned about their dire situation. We should not be afraid to turn to God in prayer every day, not only when we discover our fragility, when the sea is stormy and life becomes too difficult. The Lord calms the sea and wind with his word. Blessed be the Lord who did not leave us prisoners to evil, but who liberated us. Truly our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Prayer for peace

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