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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 4, 43-54

When the two days were over Jesus left for Galilee.

He himself had declared that a prophet is not honoured in his own home town.

On his arrival the Galileans received him well, having seen all that he had done at Jerusalem during the festival which they too had attended.

He went again to Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. And there was a royal official whose son was ill at Capernaum;

hearing that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judaea, he went and asked him to come and cure his son, as he was at the point of death.

Jesus said to him, 'Unless you see signs and portents you will not believe!'

'Sir,' answered the official, 'come down before my child dies.'

'Go home,' said Jesus, 'your son will live.' The man believed what Jesus had said and went on his way home;

and while he was still on the way his servants met him with the news that his boy was alive.

He asked them when the boy had begun to recover. They replied, 'The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.'

The father realised that this was exactly the time when Jesus had said, 'Your son will live'; and he and all his household believed.

This new sign, the second, Jesus performed on his return from Judaea to Galilee.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Today begins the fourth week of Lent and the Holy Liturgy readings introduce Christ as the Lord of life. Isaiah’s words are brought to our attention: “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; …No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred shall be considered accursed” (Is 65:17-21). The prophet was announcing the days of the Messiah, the days of Jesus. The evangelist discloses the new heaven and the new earth where the Lord of life conquers death. The Gospel of John, whose reading will accompany us until the end of Lent, introduces Jesus returning to Galilee, his region, in spite of having said that nobody is a prophet in his own land. The evangelist indeed widens the meaning by extending it to the entirety of humanity. Jesus did not come for the Jews only (his land), that is for the people of Israel, but for all men and women regardless of culture, race, or faith. Indeed faith does not rest on human privileges or earthly characters, but on human beings’ adhesion of heart to Jesus and his Gospel. This is what happens to this official in Capernaum. He confides in Jesus not because he saw signs or miracles, but because he believed in his word and to what Jesus told him about his son’s illness. The evangelist notes that “as he was going down” the healing took place. It is a miracle at a distance. This royal official embodies the perfect disciple. The evangelist delineates the features with one sentence: “The man believed the words that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way.” We could say that Jesus’ disciples should do nothing else but imitate that official who believed even before seeing his son’s healing. He was not a member of Israel, nor did he attend the Synagogue. Yet, he welcomed without hesitation Jesus’ word and left. Because of his faith his cured son was given back to him. In his company, let us continue our path towards Easter and experience the Gospel’s healing force. Indeed we are setting out towards the new heavens and the new earth of which the prophet spoke.

Memory of the Poor