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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

Jairus, one of the religious leaders of Capernaum, approaches Jesus to ask him to heal his daughter. He probably knows and values Jesus for having seen him and heard him in the synagogue. He thinks he is the only one who can save his daughter. For this he addresses to Jesus a simple, sincere prayer, as clear are the many desperate cries of this world and few are willing to listen. The Lord hears Jairus and starts to walk with him to the house. We can understand the truth of his words: “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 prayers of those who invoke him. He is also opposed to those who, perhaps reasonably, want to take away all hope, like those servants who carry the news of the daughter’s death and the group of mourners who make fun of Jesus. Jesus knows well that he is stronger than death. Even death cannot resist the love of Jesus. His gestures are simple, full of humanity and tenderness, never an expression of magic. He stands apart with the parents of the girl, takes her hand, as in the icon of the resurrection when he takes Adam by the hand, and he returns her to life. During Jesus’ journey to the house of Jairus, Mark places the beautiful episode of the healing of the woman with haemorrhages. Again, there is a simple prayer, even a silent one, from a poor and humble woman. She seems to trust Jesus even in a more disarming way than Jairus, a man who was well known in Capernaum. She, a humble and unknown woman, not even dares to speak to Jesus; but, like Jairus she believes that Jesus can heal her, she thinks it would be enough just to touch the hem of the coat of that good man. And so it happens. No one notices anything. Only Jesus and the woman, of course, know what happened. Jesus notices every plea, because he knows the need of the woman and the need of every person. The disciples struggle to understand this “care” of Jesus, so much so that they tell him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” Also in the crowd and confusion, every healing takes place through a direct relationship with Jesus, obtained even if only by touching the hem of his garment. However, that woman also needs to look at the eyes of Jesus and hear him say: “Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Memory of the Mother of the Lord