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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Mark. He shared the responsibility of preaching the Gospel with Barnabas and Paul and then with Peter. He is the author of the first written Gospel.

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

1 Peter 5,1-14

I urge the elders among you, as a fellow-elder myself and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and as one who is to have a share in the glory that is to be revealed: give a shepherd's care to the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, as God wants; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Do not lord it over the group which is in your charge, but be an example for the flock. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the unfading crown of glory. In the same way, younger people, be subject to the elders. Humility towards one another must be the garment you all wear constantly, because God opposes the proud but accords his favour to the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, so that he may raise you up in due time; unload all your burden on to him, since he is concerned about you. Keep sober and alert, because your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that it is the same kind of suffering that the community of your brothers throughout the world is undergoing. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will restore you, he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen. I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a trustworthy brother, to encourage you and attest that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark, Barnabas’ cousin, has been frequenting the community of Jesus’ disciples that gathered in his mother’s home since he was young, as recorded in Acts (12:12). Tradition identifies Mark as the young man who during Jesus’ passion fled capture of the guards leaving in their hands only the linen he was covered with, as a reminder that we need to strip ourselves of everything to follow Jesus. Grown up, he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Later he went with Peter to Rome. Then, consenting to the numerous requests from the Christian community that relished the profundity and beauty of the preaching of the apostle, Mark wrote the Gospel that bears his name. His is the first written Gospel which records Peter’s preaching in the empire’s capital. At the conclusion of the First Letter of Peter, Mark joins the apostle in Babylon—the name used to describe Rome, alluding to the difficult situation the Christians found themselves in, similar to the suffering of Israel in Babylonian captivity (587-538 BC). The last chapter of the First Letter of Peter is full of concern and affection for Mark who he calls "my son." In addition to Mark, he addresses Christians at the end of his letter and speaks to them about the humility to which all are called and to help the elderly in service to the community. He urges everyone to humble themselves first of all before God and also before one another. Humility renders Christians similar to Jesus who puts himself at the service to all. The image the apostle employs is beautiful: put on the cloth of humility in mutual service to others. Perhaps the apostle is remembering the washing of the feet at the Last Supper. He certainly was remembering the master’s admonition after the noisy protests from the disciples: "Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me" (Jn 13:8). Humility is the behaviour that characterizes the disciple and what saves him from pride, which is at the root of all vices. The adversary (the devil), already present in the earthly garden, through pride continues to cajole and tempt every person in order to turn them into his slave. The apostle urges us to resist him because he is bent on destroying us and devouring us in his voracious and insatiable grip. The apostle adds that in faith we are able to defeat him even if he seems strong, as had happened to Jesus in the desert: he drove away temptation with the power of the Word of God. Leaning on the Lord, therefore, and living in his courts—that is, living in the community of disciples—we will be firm and nothing will be able to bend us. The Lord is our salvation. The apostle Peter, concluding his letter, opens up to the future that awaits the disciples: "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you." Yes, "steadfast" on the rock that is Christ, the disciples from now on can live in the future state of being risen. Mark, the "interpreter of Peter" with his Gospel, helps us to immerse ourselves in the faith of the apostle whom the Lord placed at the head of his Church.

Memory of the Poor