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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Laurindo and Madora, young Mozambicans, who died because of the war. With them we remember all of the youth killed because of the conflict and violence of humanity.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 2,36-40

There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God's favour was with him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having invited us to contemplate the extraordinary encounter between Simeon and the child, the Gospel of Luke presents to us another meeting, that with the old prophetess Anna. She was an 84-year-old woman. She spent the life left to her inside the temple. One could say that she had nothing else to do besides continuing to spend her days in the same way until death. However, the encounter with the child changed her life.
If Simeon recited the "Nunc dimittis," Anna received a new energy, a new vocation. Her age was not a burden, and she became the first preacher of the Gospel. Truly nothing is impossible for God and Anna is an example for all: life can change when we truly meet Jesus. The age becomes irrelevant, even what you did so far does not matter; the only thing that counts is to let our heart be touched by the Lord. This is a story that should make us think. Our communities, which are often homologous to the current mentality, put aside elderly people. However, our communities must be challenged by this Gospel to help elderly people to find the task that the Lord has entrusted them, that maybe also only prayers and words. This woman "worshiped God," that is prayed, and "spoke about the child," that is proclaimed in the Gospel. The Evangelist closes this passage with a phrase that describes the return of Mary, Joseph and Jesus to Nazareth.
He summarizes the long "hidden life" of Jesus with three lines that are worth thirty years of life. One might wonder why Jesus did not immediately begin his pastoral activity with signs and prodigies. This is what the ‘apocryphal’ Gospels with those descriptions of Jesus' miracles in his early years of life are trying to say. The Church excluded them from the canon of the Scriptures for they went too beyond the threshold of mystery. The truth is different. Jesus was born in human likeness, as the hymn of Paul to the Philippians recites, in order to demonstrate that salvation is not foreign to daily life. There are no miracles; there are no visions or crowds of people coming to Nazareth. This brief sentence of the Gospel is like a synthesis of thirty years of ordinary life, both Jesus’ and ours. Yes, in the ordinariness of our days, we too have to "grow and become strong, filled with wisdom, and the favour of God," just as it has happened to Jesus. We will grow when we read every page of the Gospel, and we try to put it into practice.

Prayer of the Christmas season