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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

Mark 9, 14-29

As they were rejoining the disciples they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them.

At once, when they saw him, the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him.

And he asked them, 'What are you arguing about with them?'

A man answered him from the crowd, 'Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him,

and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to drive it out and they were unable to.'

In reply he said to them, 'Faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.'

They brought the boy to him, and at once the spirit of dumbness threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' 'From childhood,' he said,

'and it has often thrown him into fire and into water, in order to destroy him.

But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.'

'If you can?' retorted Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who has faith.' At once the father of the boy cried out, 'I have faith. Help my lack of faith!'

And when Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit. 'Deaf and dumb spirit,' he said, 'I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.'

Then it threw the boy into violent convulsions and came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, 'He is dead.'

But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand.

When he had gone indoors, his disciples asked him when they were by themselves, 'Why were we unable to drive it out?'

He answered, 'This is the kind that can be driven out only by prayer.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus went down from the mountain of the Transfiguration and encountered the disciples who were on the plane arguing with the Pharisees. The argument focused on the inability of the disciples to cure a young boy suffering from epilepsy. The boy’s father wanted to take him to Jesus to be cured, and since the father did not find him, he brought the boy to the disciples. But they were unable to cure him. Still today, truly and often, Jesus’ disciples and Christian communities are unable to cure the sick, to lift from despair those who mourn, to give back confidence and hope to those who have lost them or find it hard to have them! And many sick people are crushed by their sadness and their loneliness. Indeed, nothing is possible to Christians without the Lord. Jesus has said it, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). But pride blinds the disciples and makes them powerless when they think of doing without the Lord. Anyway, the boy’s father did not care about the theoretical arguments between the Pharisees and the disciples, and asked Jesus directly to act and to cure his son. Jesus said to him, “All things can be done for the one who believes.” And the father replied, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, seeing that simple but true faith, commanded “the unclean spirit” to get out of the young boy. Jesus’ love and power are stronger than the “unclean spirit.” He took the boy by hand and lifted him up again to life. The disciples asked for an explanation of their powerlessness, and Jesus replied by indicating the power of prayer. They had not even considered it, hence their powerlessness. Maybe many miracles do not take place because our prayer and our faith are too weak. Before the pervading power of evil, its violence dominating the world more and more, can we remain self-imprisoned in our resignation? Jesus entrusted His disciples with the “authority to drive out demons” (Mk 3:15). This means opposing the power and lordship of evil. But this is possible only if we are with Jesus and if we draw every day on the healing force of his presence and his word.

Memory of the Poor