Prayer for the sick

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Memorial of Shabbaz Bhatti, Minister of Minorities in Pakistan, a Christian, killed by terrorists because of his commitment in seeking pace and dialogue.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Daniel 9, 4-10

I pleaded with Yahweh my God and made this confession: 'O my Lord, God great and to be feared, you keep the covenant and show faithful love towards those who love you and who observe your commandments:

we have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly, we have betrayed your commandments and rulings and turned away from them.

We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our chief men, our ancestors and all people of the country.

Saving justice, Lord, is yours; we have only the look of shame we wear today, we, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the whole of Israel, near and far away, in every country to which you have dispersed us because of the treachery we have committed against you.

To us, our kings, our chief men and our ancestors, belongs the look of shame, O Yahweh, since we have sinned against you.

And it is for the Lord our God to have mercy and to pardon, since we have betrayed him,

and have not listened to the voice of Yahweh our God nor followed the laws he has given us through his servants the prophets.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

As we move through the first steps of Lent, the Church's liturgy places on our lips the prayer of the prophet Daniel, who turns to the Lord for all the people. The words of the prophet begin with a sincere confession of infidelity of the entire people to God who, on the contrary, had observed the covenant they established together at Sinai. This betrayal had no excuses: the people and their rulers had been warned, from generation to generation, especially by the prophets sent by God to warn them of their infidelity. Hence the prophet can confess: "Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us" (v. 7). In his prayer the prophet recognizes that shame is now a sentiment shared by all Jews, both those who are at home and those who live in the lands of exile. All, without exception and without distinction of class, are aware of this grievous sin that is the root of every tragedy that befalls Israel. The prophet knows well that breaking the covenant would require God's condemnation. But here's the audacity of the prayer that the prophet speaks to the Lord: he wants to bend his heart so that he may be merciful to his people. The confession of sins certainly opens the way for the request for forgiveness, called for by the prophet on the city and the people, but it is exactly this faith in the mercy of God that allows them to hope in forgiveness. The Lord will hear Daniel's prayer and indicate to him a complete time "to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity" (see Dan 9:24), seventy weeks after which there will be the jubilee forgiveness. Trust in the mercy of God is the reason for the efficacy of Daniel's prayer. It is what Jesus repeated to his disciples many times. And even to us.