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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 4,31-37

He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath.

And his teaching made a deep impression on them because his word carried authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and he shouted at the top of his voice,

'Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.'

But Jesus rebuked it, saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!' And the devil, throwing the man into the middle, went out of him without hurting him at all.

Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, 'What is it in his words? He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.'

And the news of him travelled all through the surrounding countryside.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chased out of Nazareth, Jesus opted to stay in Capernaum, a very lively little city which eventually becomes "his city." And it is precisely here, in the Capernaum, that Jesus’ preaching began anew. Luke portrays him while he was teaching. A man possessed by an evil spirit began to yell: "Let us alone! What have you to do with us?" Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave that man. And it quickly left him. All, Luke writes, were astonished and asked themselves who this person was who could speak so authoritatively that he could cast out unclean spirits. We do not know for sure what the gospel account means when it speaks of these spirits; they were in any case able to enter into human life and disturb its physical and psychic functions. But if we think of the distortions, the anguish that so often are produced in our cities, I think we are not far from understanding this gospel passage. The evil spirits of which the Gospel speaks are not strange spirits, unknown; we know them well and perhaps they are also a bit present in each one of us. We are talking about the spirit of indifference, of slander, of love only for oneself, of fear of being left out, of fear of not mattering emotionally for anyone; of the spirit of abusing power; of the spirit of distrust which leads us to anguish and violence; of the spirit of selfishness which leads us to push onward without bothering about anyone else; of the spirit of hatred and vengeance small or great. And how many other "evil", unclean, spirits whirl among us and ruin our life and our relations with others, often leaving us more alone and sad! How to cast out these spirits? How to keep them away from our life and that of others? The Gospel tells us that the extraordinary powers, those that even the unclean spirits obey, are conferred by faith, by the word of the Gospel and by friendship with Jesus. How many times, however, powers and therapies are sought in all directions while we have beside us He who can keep them away with authority? The true authority which is able to heal and resolve so many human situations is that of the friendship and affectionate closeness of Jesus. This is the authority which Jesus exercised towards all and which he has asked to exercise also to his disciples.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord