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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 18, 35-43

Now it happened that as he drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging.

When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about,

and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by.

So he called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.'

The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.'

Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him,

'What do you want me to do for you?' 'Sir,' he replied, 'let me see again.'

Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.'

And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus is about to end his journey to Jerusalem. As a preview of his entrance there, the evangelist has him stop in Jericho, the last city before reaching Jerusalem. At the doors of the city, a blind man asks for alms. In Mark’s Gospel, he is named Bartimeaus. Hearing all the noise, he asks what is happening. Those nearby “announce” that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. He needs someone to tell him about Jesus because alone, he cannot see. In reality, we all need someone to tell us about Jesus: naturally concentrated on ourselves and our possessions we are like blind people. Not only is it hard for us to raise our eyes beyond ourselves but, as in this case, without the Church speaking to us of Jesus we are not able to see him. That blind man, listening to the “news” of Jesus’ arrival, understands that the one who can save him is coming near; someone like no other. How many people had he heard pass by him, perhaps leaving an offering and then continuing along their way! That day he understood that Jesus would not pass him by and that Jesus could heal him. For this reason he immediately started to pray, or better, to shout. It was a simple prayer, shouted, but true because it came from the need to see again: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Unfortunately, as it often happens still today, the crowd tried to quiet him, perhaps so as not to bother the Teacher who could not lose time with someone as insignificant as him. But that blind man, who had intuited the goodness of that young prophet, shouts, or better, prays more fervently: “Son of David, have mercy on me.” We do not have to invent sophisticated or suave words to turn ourselves to God, as if He would listen to us for our oratorical abilities. He knows that we are in need, before we even ask. Jesus listens to the blind man’ prayer that flows from a needy heart, a heart, which has placed all its faith in him. We could say that for the blind man this is his last chance. Jesus stops and has the blind man led to him. Now they are before each other. Jesus sees beyond those closed eyes that cannot see light, and reaches his heart. He questions him. There follows a dialogue that binds Jesus and the heart of the blind man. Yes, a personal encounter with Jesus is indispensable for the eyes of the blind man to be opened, for our eyes to heal from their blindness, for the souls of the disciples to be opened to salvation. It is in this direct encounter between us and Jesus that healing takes place. As if to acknowledge the initiative of the blind man, Jesus says to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” The blind man begins to see and first sees Jesus’ face full of tenderness and love. What a grace! The encounter touches his heart. He also sees with the eyes of the heart: in fact he starts to follow Jesus. He does not enjoy his healing alone with himself. No, he understands that he must share the healing with the world so that men and women can see the mercy of God and be converted to Him. This blind man becomes the image of the believer: one who recognizes his own blindness, prays with faith to the Lord, allows himself to be healed and follows the Teacher. He is an example for all of us.

Prayer for peace