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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. John Chrysostom ("golden mouth"), bishop and doctor of the Church (349-407). The most common liturgy of the Byzantine Church takes its name from him.

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 7,1-10

When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum.

A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death.

Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant.

When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him saying, 'He deserves this of you,

because he is well disposed towards our people; he built us our synagogue himself.'

So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends to say to him, 'Sir, do not put yourself to any trouble because I am not worthy to have you under my roof;

and that is why I did not presume to come to you myself; let my boy be cured by your giving the word.

For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, "Go," and he goes; to another, "Come here," and he comes; to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'

When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith as great as this.'

And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Having finished the sermon on the beatitudes, Jesus enters Capernaum, as if to have the gospel word enter into the human city. In Capernaum there is a Roman centurion. He is a pagan who, even though he represents the oppressor, has a particular interest in the Jews. For example, he helped to build the synagogue. His concern for his servant, fallen gravely ill, impels him to turn to Jesus. He first sends the notables, and then he himself goes into action. Two sentiments come to the surface in this Roman centurion: the love he harbours for his servant (he treats him as a son) and the faith he puts in the young prophet from Nazareth. It is a faith so strong that it makes him say those words which all Christians still pronounce today during the Eucharistic liturgy: "Lord, do not trouble yourself! I am not worthy that you should come under my roof ... but only say the word and my servant shall be healed." This centurion, a pagan, becomes the image of the true believer, of the one, that is, who believes that one word of the gospel is enough in order to save or be saved. On the other hand, we are obsessed with multiplying words, thinking that these will move the heart of the Lord or change things. Really, in the gospel episode, one word sufficed because Jesus himself is "the Word." Even of God it is written that at the moment of creation he said: "Let there be light" and "there was light." The word that comes out of Jesus’ mouth flows from a heart in which love is strong and without limits. This is what the centurion had seen in Jesus, and he entrusted himself to His heart. And Jesus could say about him: "I tell you that not even in Israel have I found such faith." Let us come near to this centurion and learn from him how to draw near to Jesus.

Memory of the Poor