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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

Luke 10, 25-37

And now a lawyer stood up and, to test him, asked, 'Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'

He said to him, 'What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?'

He replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.'

Jesus said to him, 'You have answered right, do this and life is yours.'

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?'

In answer Jesus said, 'A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead.

Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him.

He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.

Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, "Look after him, and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have."

Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?'

He replied, 'The one who showed pity towards him.' Jesus said to him, 'Go, and do the same yourself.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is one of the best-known passages in the Gospel. It is an excellent representation of the situation of our world, and at the same time it clearly traces out the vocation of the Christian community and of every single disciple. The half-dead man left on the side of the road represents all of the poor, both individuals and sometimes entire nations, who are still pushed away and abandoned on the edges of life. There are millions and millions of these people. And yet the Gospel teaches us to see that half-dead man abandoned by everyone as the brother of our Lord and our friend. Yes, all of the disinherited of the earth - all of the poor - are brothers and sisters of the Lord and brothers and sisters of every one of us. It is a teaching for all Christians, but it would be most opportune that it be heard also by those who have administrative and political responsibilities. For us Christians, in any case, the poor, before being a problem are our siblings, our friends. And it is not a matter of a naive "doing-good-ism," as at times one hears said in a disdainful tone, but rather of God’s own gaze which human beings are at pains to imitate. We Christians, oftentimes, are culprits. Through the example of the Samaritan who was a foreigner to that half-dead man, the Gospel urges us to discover not only the ethical, but also the deeply human value, of universal brotherhood, that is, to consider all of the poor and the weak as members of God’s family. The Samaritan is Jesus himself. He is the one who, starting from Jerusalem, walks down the roads that lead to the many Jerichos of our world. He is the first one who stops, and he teaches his disciples to do the same. And, like the Samaritan, he does not limit himself to one gesture of good will, but surrounds that man with care and affection until he is healed. This is how our love for the poor should be expressed. Let us listen with great attention to Jesus’ conclusion: "Go and do likewise." It is the way of love that the Lord invites us to travel.

Prayer for the Sick