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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

Mark 5, 21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lake.

Then the president of the synagogue came up, named Jairus, and seeing him, fell at his feet

and begged him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her that she may be saved and may live.'

Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.

Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years;

after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she had spent all she had without being any the better for it; in fact, she was getting worse.

She had heard about Jesus, and she came up through the crowd and touched his cloak from behind, thinking,

'If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be saved.'

And at once the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint.

And at once aware of the power that had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?'

His disciples said to him, 'You see how the crowd is pressing round you; how can you ask, "Who touched me?" '

But he continued to look all round to see who had done it.

Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth.

'My daughter,' he said, 'your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint.'

While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, 'Your daughter is dead; why put the Master to any further trouble?'

But Jesus overheard what they said and he said to the president of the synagogue, 'Do not be afraid; only have faith.'

And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

So they came to the house of the president of the synagogue, and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly.

He went in and said to them, 'Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.'

But they ridiculed him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child's father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay.

And taking the child by the hand he said to her, 'Talitha kum!' which means, 'Little girl, I tell you to get up.'

The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At once they were overcome with astonishment,

and he gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus travels on the western shore, nearby Capernaum, and lands in the place where he had spoken to the crowd the day before. As soon as people hear that Jesus has returned, many run to him. Jairus, one of the religious leaders of the synagogue of the city, approaches Jesus and as soon as he reaches him, he throws himself at his feet. He is one of the religious leaders and yet he kneels in front of this young prophet, probably younger than he is. No doubt he knows and respects Jesus, having seen and heard him in the synagogue. He thinks Jesus is the only one who can save his daughter. This is why he speaks a simple and sincere prayer to Jesus, as clear as the cries of the many desperate people of this world who find few willing to listen to them. The Lord listens to Jairus’ desperate and insistent prayer and immediately sets off with him towards his house. For, it was Jesus himself who said: "Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you" (Mt 7:7). The Lord is not deaf to the prayer of those who call on him. And he opposes those who want to take away all hope, even if they seem rather reasonable, like those servants who bring the news of the girl’s death and the crowd of mourners who make fun of him. Jesus knows he is stronger than death. Just like in the icon of the Resurrection Jesus takes Eve by the hand, here Jesus takes the girl by the hand, and brings her back to life. Mark places the beautiful episode of the healing of the woman suffering from haemorrhages during Jesus’ walk to Jairus’ house. Here, too, there is a simple prayer - silent, in fact - spoken by a poor and humble woman. She seems to have a faith in Jesus that is even more disarming than that of Jairus, a respected and well-known man in Capernaum. A humble and unknown woman, she does not even dare speak to Jesus. But like Jairus, she too believes that Jesus can heal her. She thinks it will be enough just to touch the hem of this good man’s cloak. And so it happens and no one notices anything. Only Jesus and the woman know what happened. Even in the midst of a crowd and confusion, every act of healing happens in the context of a direct relationship with Jesus, even if it is just through touching the hem of his cloak. Nonetheless, the woman needs to meet Jesus’ gaze and hear him say: "Go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

Memory of the Mother of the Lord