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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 10, 38-42

In the course of their journey he came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.

She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord's feet and listened to him speaking.

Now Martha, who was distracted with all the serving, came to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.'

But the Lord answered, 'Martha, Martha,' he said, 'you worry and fret about so many things,

and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist Luke places the story of Martha and Mary immediately after the parable of the Good Samaritan, as if to tightly bind the two fundamental attitudes of Christians: love for the poor (the Good Samaritan) and listening to the Word of Jesus (Mary). In the Church there are no experts of charity and experts of prayer. Every Christian is called to love the poor and to pray. One cannot divide prayer from charity. This is why Jesus stigmatizes the attitude of the priest and the sacristan: you can not serve the altar without serving the poor. They are two inseparable forms of worship. Today’s Gospel makes us reflect on prayer; a prayer understood primarily as listening to the Word of God. Mary at the feet of Jesus is the image of each disciple. Christians, in fact, are first and foremost people who hear the word of the Master, and keep it in their heart. Yes, Christians are men and women of prayer. Disciples should in fact look more like Mary than Martha. The latter is swept by an activism that distances her from hearing the Word; her mind, no longer enlivened by the Word, hardens and becomes even wicked to the point of blaming even Jesus of insensitivity. Christians are always and primarily disciples of the Lord. This is the truest and deepest definition. The very being of Christians and their actions derive from the Word of God. In prayer we discover to be children, to be able to speak with familiarity to God, and trust him with full confidence. For this you could say that prayer is the first and fundamental work of Christians. It is both personal prayer, that is possible in any place, and common prayer. In prayer we learn to love the Lord, brothers and sisters, and the poor. Love, in fact, does not come from us, from our nature or our natural talents. Love is a gift that comes from above; it is the very the same Spirit of God that is poured into our hearts as we stay before the Father who is in heaven, with humility and willingness. One could close this Gospel passage with the words that Jesus said to the doctor of the Law in the parable of the Good Samaritan: “Go and do likewise.” Yes, let Mary be our example so that we will also be able to stop in front of the poor.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord