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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saints Cyrillus and Methodius, fathers of the Slavic Church and patrons of Europe

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

Mark 7, 31-37

Returning from the territory of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon towards the Lake of Galilee, right through the Decapolis territory.

And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him.

He took him aside to be by themselves, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man's ears and touched his tongue with spittle.

Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be opened.'

And his ears were opened, and at once the impediment of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly.

And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they proclaimed it.

Their admiration was unbounded, and they said, 'Everything he does is good, he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus continues to communicate the Gospel in pagan territory. And here happen scenes that are similar to those that were seen in Galilee. The Gospel, in fact, can be (indeed it must be) announced everywhere. We could say that it is expected by all people, from all cultures; everyone awaits the Gospel. The whole world awaits the Gospel, a word of salvation, an act of mercy. Jesus’ passage continues to create even in pagan territory that new atmosphere of celebration and hope, especially experienced by the sick and the poor, as it was in Galilee. Some pagans, who had heard about the famed healings of the young prophet, bring before Jesus a deaf-mute man. Jesus takes the man with him, away from the crowds. The Gospel continues to emphasize that healing, whatever it is, in the body or in the heart, is always in a direct relationship with Jesus, not in the confusion of the world, much less in an esoteric relationship. We need a personal, direct relationship with Jesus: we need to look in his eyes, to hear his word, even a single word (the centurion asked Jesus, “Speak only one word, and my servant will be healed”). After touching the man with his hands, so as to underline the concreteness of the relationship, and after having prayed, Jesus again says only one word to the deaf-mute, “Be opened!” And the man is healed: he begins to hear and speak. “Be opened,” Jesus says to us as well. We, too, sometimes are deaf and mute in front of the Lord, because we do not listen and then do not talk and do not communicate with joy the healing power of the Lord. A little further on in the Gospel, Jesus would say to his disciples, “Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?” (Mk 8:17-18). The astonishment of the crowd, on the other hand, is immediate and begins to spread. Jesus would like them to be silent. But how can we be silent before the Gospel that saves? Sure, many times we are silent because we neither see nor hear. Self-absorption prevents the sight of faith. But if we open our ears to the Gospel and our eyes to the wonders that emanate from it, we cry out like that crowd, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Memory of Jesus crucified