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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 9, 30-37

After leaving that place they made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know,

because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, 'The Son of man will be delivered into the power of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.'

But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he got into the house he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?'

They said nothing, because on the road they had been arguing which of them was the greatest.

So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.'

He then took a little child whom he set among them and embraced, and he said to them,

'Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus always walked with his disciples. He had a strong feeling of community. He was never alone, except when praying. Moreover, after calling the disciples individually or in pairs he immediately “established” a community (Mk 3:13-17). There is no individual in Christianity. Today individualism takes possession also of Christians, and everyone makes a religion for their own use, a God according to their own needs and their own time. But Jesus showed us that his life was always communion. In this way he helped his disciples to live in his spirit. Today’s Gospel tells us that when they got home, far from the crowd, Jesus made them understand how large their distance from the Gospel was. This is always the case when we are open and listen to the Word of God. This distance is for our growth. In those days Jesus was distressed much more than his disciples because of the death that awaited him. On the contrary, the disciples, more concerned for their fate than for their Master’s, were arguing about who was the greatest among them. Jesus, lowering himself almost to their level, did not despise the desire they had to excel, but he reversed the direction: in a Christian community the first is the one who serves. It is the absolute primacy of love which should reign in Christian communities. This commandment was so important in the conscience of the first communities that this statement by Jesus is reported five times. After speaking this way, Jesus took a child, placed him in their midst, and put his arms around it. The child is obviously a physical centre, but it is above all the focus of attention. The little ones – meaning of course children, but also the weak, the poor, the lonely, the defenceless -- should be put in the centre, that is, in the very heart of the community, for the Lord himself is present in them. Those who receive one of them (Jesus hugged that child), those who open their heart to the poor, receive God Himself, and they will be saved. Only in service and friendship for the least, only putting them and not ourselves in the centre, can we learn and enjoy the only true greatness and the only true primacy, which is serving. How different is this perspective from the one of the world we live in, where people race to excel with arrogance, money, wealth, beauty, cheating, deceit, arrogance, violence. Much different from the Gospel of Jesus that offers the only true greatness.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord