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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 8, 28-34

When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on the other side, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs -- they were so dangerously violent that nobody could use that path.

Suddenly they shouted, 'What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?'

Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding,

and the devils pleaded with Jesus, 'If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.'

And he said to them, 'Go then,' and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water.

The herdsmen ran off and made for the city, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs.

Suddenly the whole city set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave their neighbourhood.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus reaches the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee that borders a semi-pagan region of the ten towns (the Decapolis). One town, placed in an area full of caves, is Gadara. Two persons who are not masters of themselves run out of one of them towards Jesus. It might seem strange, but our cities and countries are similar to a system of caves, dark, lifeless, inhabited by possessed men and women who live in isolation where they look for shelter because they are incapable of dialogue, of meeting and of a relationship. We do not know the story of these two men. Jesus neither judges them nor fears them, whereas, on the contrary, people usually do just that, and in so doing, make the condition of those who are not master of themselves even more violent and sadder. How many people are marked by mental imbalance and by difficulties in relationships. They are often despised by others who at times think they are behaving so on purpose. Jesus sets them free. How many spirits of loneliness and division become true pathological cases.. Let’s think of a grudge which turns into hatred, of malicious gossip which always sows division and makes us mute and deaf, of prejudice which deceives us with certainty and always strikes those who cultivate it as well as those who are targeted by it. Life resembles spiritual and human deserts, where men and women are incapable of being together. We are often so resigned to the foolishness of a senseless life as not to hope for any change anymore. The two men set upon Jesus, “What have you to do with us?” The Master recognises their real request, to be set free, though it is expressed in a negative way. Jesus wants everyone to be master of his/her own life and has the power to drive away the many unclean spirits of division because they overshadow our humanity and our beauty. The inhabitants of the town are astonished by what happened and, considering the value of the swine herd, invite Jesus to leave the area. Faced with the changes needed in order to live a more worthy life (this might mean drowning swine herd), people prefer to continue their ordinary life and, above all, preserving their own interests. How often consumerism makes possessions more important than people, money more important than restoring those who were dispossessed of their own life to being masters of themselves. Jesus granted his disciples the power to drive out every spirit of loneliness from the heart of people.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets