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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

Luke 7, 11-17

It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people.

Now when he was near the gate of the town there was a dead man being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople was with her.

When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her and said to her, 'Don't cry.'

Then he went up and touched the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, 'Young man, I tell you: get up.'

And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Everyone was filled with awe and glorified God saying, 'A great prophet has risen up among us; God has visited his people.'

And this view of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

A young man—the only son of a widow—dies. The mother’s life breaks. Every thread of hope seems to be cut off forever. Nothing is possible for the son or the mother--only to bury one and accompany the other, consoling her pain. But what is impossible for men and women is possible for God. This is what the Gospel passage tells us. Seeing the sad funeral procession leaving the gate of the city of Nain to go to the cemetery, Jesus is moved for this widowed mother who feels definitively cut off from her life. The evangelist notes that having seen the broken-hearted mother, Jesus “had compassion for her.” It is the same feeling which drove him to come down from heaven and walk the streets and squares of his time gathering and consoling the tired and worn-out crowds, the sheep without a shepherd. In seeing the scene of Jesus who comes closer to that mother, the crowd stops. Jesus tells her immediately not to cry, and then he goes toward the cot where the dead boy is laying, perhaps covered by a veil. It was prohibited for Jews to touch a dead body. But Jesus infringes this instruction of the Leviticus law. As soon as he reaches the dead boy he says to him: “Young man, I say to you, rise!” Jesus speaks to him as if he were alive. And that young man seems to hear the voice of Jesus and gets up and speaks. Did not the centurion say to Jesus: “Say the word and my servant will be healed”? The Gospel word is always effective if welcomed with the heart. It revives life, gives energy to those who have lost it, creates a new heart for those have turned theirs into stone, and offers brothers and sisters to whoever is alone. So many are the youth today who live as if they were dead, that is, without hope for their futures. Hope in a better world has been stolen from them. For them society is very often unkind. They find themselves alone and disoriented in a world without a future. And they wait for someone to stop next to them and turn to them directly and say: “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The Gospel helps us to hope and work for them. So many of us remember the scene of the enormous gathering of youth in Rio de Janeiro with Pope Francis. It was a truly a wind of resurrection. That image must sink itself daily into various countries. The youth of this century need someone to stop next to them, someone who will stop the slide toward death, who will touch them as Jesus did with that young man and who knows how to address them with true, authoritative and strong words, words that are full of hope. It could seem to our eyes that youth do not listen to these words. But it is not so. If the words flow from a heart full of feeling, like that of Jesus, young people will know how to listen to them. In truth, every Christian community, every disciple, is called to feel the same compassion of Jesus for youth. It is from this strong and bold compassion that the words will flow also for us, words that give back hope to today’s youth.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord