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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Gregory the Great (540-604), pope and doctor of the Church.

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

Luke 5,33-39

They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees, too, but yours go on eating and drinking.'

Jesus replied, 'Surely you cannot make the bridegroom's attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them?

But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then, in those days, they will fast.'

He also told them a parable, 'No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; otherwise, not only will the new one be torn, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old.

'And nobody puts new wine in old wineskins; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and run to waste, and the skins will be ruined.

No; new wine must be put in fresh skins.

And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. "The old is good," he says.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is an experience which we all know, that of seeking rules and clear prescriptions to follow, even severe ones, in order to relieve us from the toil and responsibility of understanding what the Lord wants of us. This is why the Pharisees praise the disciples of the Baptist, because they fast and recite prayers, while they condemn Jesus’ disciples because they celebrate, even outside of the prescribed times. Jesus responds that the disciples celebrate because they have found the saviour of their life; a feast he compares to a wedding celebration, as it is so beautiful. Obviously, Jesus’ disciples should fast too. They shall certainly fast when the bridegroom is taken away - and these are the difficult moments of every persecution - but they are called immediately to fast from their own selfishness, from their own closed-in being, from their own self-sufficiency, from their own provincialism, because only thus can they receive the gift of being children of God to the point that they can call him "Father." They, in fact, make up part of that new family, constituted by Jesus himself, not through bonds of the flesh and kinship, but through spiritual bonds that break down every limitation and every barrier and enlarge the heart. The disciples thus put on an inward dress all new, precisely that of the children of God, and their heart is like those new wineskins filled to the brim with the new wine that is the Lord’s love.

Memory of Jesus crucified