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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the dedication of the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere where the Community of Sant’Egidio prays every day.

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

Luke 19, 1-10

He entered Jericho and was going through the town

and suddenly a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man.

He kept trying to see which Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd;

so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today.'

And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

They all complained when they saw what was happening. 'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house,' they said.

But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, 'Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.'

And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham;

for the Son of man has come to seek out and save what was lost.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus reaches Jericho. Archaeologists say the city is the oldest in the world, almost the symbol of every city. Jesus does not enter it distracted or in a hurry, as usually happens with us when we cross the streets or squares of our cities. He is always attentive to other persons. Zacchaeus, a tax-collector, a known sinner, wanted to see him, but he was small of stature. A bit like all of us who are too close to the ground, too concerned with our material things to be able to perceive Jesus. A small adjustment is not enough, perhaps getting up on one’s tiptoes, but remaining where one is. It is necessary to go up a bit high, that is, to leave the confusion of the crowd, go beyond one’s habits and customs where so often we get comfortable. If we remain below, we continue to be prisoners of ourselves and of the world’s mindset. It is difficult if we remain thus to be able to see Jesus. Zacchaeus goes up a tree. This was enough. It was Jesus, in fact, who saw him. It had been Zacchaeus who had wanted to see Jesus, and the contrary occurs. Whoever begins to seek the Lord has already been found by Him. We would not seek him if we had not already found him, confirms the whole spiritual tradition of the Church. Jesus in fact, passing under the sycamore tree, lifts up his eyes, calls Zacchaeus by name, invites him to come down and asks him to receive him as a guest in his house. This time the rich man does not go away sad; on the contrary, he comes down quickly and receives Jesus in his home. After the encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus was no longer like before: he was happy and had a new heart, he was more generous. He, in fact, decides to give half of his possessions to the poor. He did not say: "I will give everything." The story of Zacchaeus invites each of us to welcome the Lord and to find our measure in charity.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord