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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of St.Egidio, a monk from the East who came to the West. He lived in France and became the father of many monks. The Community of Sant’Egidio took its name from the church dedicated to him in Rome. We remember the beginning of the Second World War and pray for the end to all wars. The Orthodox Church begins its liturgical year

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

Luke 4, 16-30

He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read,

and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,

to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Then he began to speak to them, 'This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.'

And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, 'This is Joseph's son, surely?'

But he replied, 'No doubt you will quote me the saying, "Physician, heal yourself," and tell me, "We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own country." '

And he went on, 'In truth I tell you, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

'There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land,

but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a town in Sidonia.

And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many suffering from virulent skin-diseases in Israel, but none of these was cured -- only Naaman the Syrian.'

When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged.

They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him off the cliff,

but he passed straight through the crowd and walked away.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage begins the continuous reading of Luke’s Gospel which will accompany us to the end of the liturgical year. It is the first episode of the apostolic life of Jesus. Luke places it in the north, in the periphery of Palestine, in Nazareth to be precise. It is here that Jesus starts his preaching. He introduces himself to the synagogue on the Sabbath during the regular prayer, in which the religious authorities and most devout people participate. Certainly it was not the first time that Jesus entered the Sabbath liturgy. The evangelist notes that it was his habit. And probably at other times he had risen to read. But this was the first time he expressed himself in what follows. He took the passage of Isaiah which talks about the liberation of prisoners, giving sight to the blind, and the evangelization of the poor. This was the good news that Isaiah had announced to the people of Israel. But, closing the scroll, Jesus began his first preaching with an adverb: “Today.” He says, with solemnity, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled.” The listeners’ reaction was decisively hostile: “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.” We could ask ourselves where had such violent scorn come from—a disdain so great as to drive the religious men to murder? Perhaps Jesus had touched upon an interest which should not be touched? Who did Jesus annoy so that he had to be eliminated? In truth, he had proclaimed the words that touch everyone, and he asked everyone not for a generic change of heart but for a total adhesion to him. How was it possible that one of their fellow citizens—whom had they had known and seen grow—could claim to be their saviour? This is what the people of Nazareth were resisting. Here is their disbelief. And it is not about theoretical doubts, but rather the rejection of God who speaks and works in everyday life. He proclaimed a “year of grace” that is the end of all inequality, the end of injustice created by man, the end of oppression. And this “year of grace” begins every day. But the people of Nazareth rejected that news and remained prisoners of their own pettiness.

Prayer for the Sick