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The Everyday Prayer

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

Prayer for the unity of the Churches. Particular memory of the Christian communities in Africa

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 3, 7-12

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea,

and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea and Transjordan and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him.

And he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him from being crushed.

For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him.

And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, 'You are the Son of God!'

But he warned them strongly not to make him known.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Given the hostility of the Pharisees, Jesus left Capernaum and its synagogue in order to go to those crowds who heard him gladly. In fact, the crowds are often among the protagonists of the Gospel. To whatever city or region he goes, Jesus is always surrounded by crowds who gather around him. Many flock from all regions, as this passage recalls. They, like all the crowds, even those with no directions of today, are intrusive. They physically need someone who understands and can help them. This is why they continue to push: they want to get close, touch, and unload all of their pain and all of their hopes on that good man. Moreover, who else could they go to without being rejected? They know well that they find in Jesus a good and compassionate man who will never reject them. They are so confident of being heard that they become even intrusive. They “pressed upon him to touch him,” the evangelist notes. Those who are in need and do not resign grow inexorably intrusive. Jesus knows this. But he does not send away anyone. However, he does not want them to prevent him from carrying out his ministry. He decides to get on a boat to depart a little from the shore and be able to see all. It is easy to imagine that he starts talking again to them. It is a scene that is striking for its strength. That boat becomes a new pulpit for Jesus. And how not to see in it the image of the Church? We must ask ourselves seriously: where do the crowds today, more numerous than those of that earlier time, “touch” Jesus? Where can the many who are in need bring the baggage of their pain and their hopes and be healed and comforted? Shouldn’t our Christian communities today be the body of Jesus, which the poor and the weak can reach and “touch”? It is such a Church that our world needs, today even more than yesterday. The barriers posed by those who are doing well, whether individuals or nations, seem to grow in order to prevent the crowds of the poor, especially those in the southern hemisphere, even just lick their borders. How totally different from a crushing pressure! These barriers are inspired by those “unclean spirits” mentioned by the evangelist, who want to prevent that the words of Jesus reach the hearts of his listeners. The Gospel shows us that the power of Jesus is stronger than these spirits. The Lord gives his disciples his same power so that they may continue his mission of salvation.

Memory of the Church