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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 1, 29-34

The next day, he saw Jesus coming towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

It was of him that I said, "Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because he existed before me."

I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptise with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.'

And John declared, 'I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him.

I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit."

I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel continues to accompany our path in Jesus’ footsteps. He is no longer a child. He is now at the start of his public ministry. The evangelist John begins this new period in Jesus’ life with the narrative of his baptism. John the Baptist sees him coming toward him and his heart leaps: he recognizes in him the Messiah. Even without having ever met him, though he had been preparing for him the way with his words and penitential baptism, he guesses who is in front of him. He hoped to meet him and the moment had arrived. It had been this way for the elderly Simeon, of whom we read in Luke a few days ago. In truth, and in this Gospel passage, it appears very clearly: it is Jesus who comes to meet him, just as he comes to meet each of us. John, declares: "I myself did not know him." His affirmation could seem unlikely, given that the Gospels portray them as relatives of virtually the same age. In reality, John did not know the true face of Jesus, that of the Messiah, of the Saviour. Now, after having completed his interior journey by practicing penitence and listening, he recognizes him and bears witness to him: "Here is the Lamb of God." This is the religious experience of every believer. There is a moment in each of our lives, no matter how poor or rich, in which the Lord, whom we did not know, becomes known and loved. This moment, in which our eyes are opened, is the result, of an interior journey that entails, on one hand, a struggle against one’s own pride and sense of self-sufficiency, and on the other hand, listening to Scripture, common and personal prayer, practicing love for the poor and welcoming a brother or sister who authoritatively witnesses to us the Lord’s paternity. Whoever perseveres on this path of seeking the Lord will reach the moment when the eyes of the heart will open and will recognize Jesus as the Lord of his or her life. And that person, just like John the Baptist, will bear witness to Jesus before all peoples.

Prayer for the Sick