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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

Matthew 9, 18-26

While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the officials came up, who bowed low in front of him and said, 'My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.'

Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him.

Then suddenly from behind him came a woman, who had been suffering from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak,

for she was thinking, 'If only I can touch his cloak I shall be saved.'

Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, 'Courage, my daughter, your faith has saved you.' And from that moment the woman was saved.

When Jesus reached the official's house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion, he said,

'Get out of here; the little girl is not dead; she is asleep.' And they ridiculed him.

But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took her by the hand; and she stood up.

And the news of this spread all round the countryside.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In a few lines, the evangelist shows us two miracles performed by Jesus: the resurrection of the daughter of one of the Jewish leaders, and the healing of the woman suffering from haemorrhages. We are in Capernaum, and a leader of the synagogue arrives, bows low before Jesus, and pleads: "My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live." He probably knows Jesus well from having seen him at the synagogue, and indeed, he may have even been the one who invited him to speak there. There is no doubt that he knows the goodness and the compassion of this young prophet. In any case, he is the only remaining hope of getting his daughter back. We cannot fail to see in him the torment of so many parents, faced with the death of their own children. His prayer typifies so many desperate prayers spoken because of the premature loss of those who are dearest to us. There is strong faith in this man, however. He believes that Jesus can do anything. This is the faith that Jesus teaches us when he affirms that nothing is impossible for God. The return of this little girl to life is the anticipation of Easter and of the Lord’s definitive victory over death. Jesus listens to this father’s prayer, and he immediately gets up and sets out. Once in the house of the leader of the synagogue, he takes the young girl by the hand, rouses her from the sleep of death, and brings her back to life. Men and women can do nothing when faced with the violent separation of death. Let us entrust to the Lord those who lose their lives while still children or at a young age. Let us learn from the Gospel how to accompany those who suffer the pain of the death of their loved ones so that consoling faith in the Resurrection may grow. On his way to the man’s house - Jesus goes nowhere without leaving his mark - a woman who has been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years thinks it may be enough just to touch the fringe of Jesus’ cloak to be healed: a simple trust expressed in an even more simple-looking action, done secretly. Jesus is aware of it, sees her, and says: "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well" (v. 22). Matthew is making the point that it is the word of Jesus linked to the faith of that poor woman that brings about the healing: there is need for a personal relationship between Jesus and that woman and between Jesus and us. We are not in the realm of magic; we are in the context of a relationship of affection and trust with this extraordinary Teacher. And we need to ask ourselves: is not the disciple - is not the Christian community - the fringe of Jesus’ cloak for the many who seek comfort and salvation? Are we truly like that? Are our communities truly like that?

Prayer for the Sick