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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of St. Ireneus, bishop of Lyon and martyr (130-202); he went to France from Anatolia to preach the Gospel. Muslims start the month of Ramadan

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 8, 5-17

When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him.

'Sir,' he said, 'my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.'

Jesus said to him, 'I will come myself and cure him.'

The centurion replied, 'Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.

For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, "Go," and he goes; to another, "Come here," and he comes; to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'

When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, 'In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this.

And I tell you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven;

but the children of the kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.'

And to the centurion Jesus said, 'Go back, then; let this be done for you, as your faith demands.' And the servant was cured at that moment.

And going into Peter's house Jesus found Peter's mother-in-law in bed and feverish.

He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him.

That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He drove out the spirits with a command and cured all who were sick.

This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: He himself bore our sicknesses away and carried our diseases.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus had just finished his great Sermon on the Mount when he began his pastoral work in Capernaum, the city he has chosen as his new home. He had already healed a leper on the road (8:1-4) and now he is entering the city. He meets a centurion, a man foreign to the religion and traditions of Israel. But he has a servant who is sick and so he runs to Jesus. He is not even sure how to explain the situation properly; we could say that he does not know how to pray. But his heart is full of suffering for his sick servant, who is in “terrible distress,” as he tells Jesus. Jesus sees the man’s heart and is moved. He immediately responds that he will go to his house to heal his servant, saying, “I will come and cure him.” At this point, we might have taken advantage of such gratuitous generosity. But that centurion does not. He becomes even more ashamed; he finds himself face-to-face with himself, with his life, and with a judgement about himself. With spontaneous honesty, he says that he is not worthy to have the Teacher come to him. He is ashamed to be with such a good man. He is even more ashamed because Jesus would have done something impure just by coming to a pagan’s house. Moved, the centurion speaks those splendid words that we repeat still today: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus is impressed by the centurion’s faith and sets him as an example for all. Remaining where he is, he says, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” Indeed the centurion’s servant is healed by Jesus’ word. It is an example of the power of prayer spoken with faith. The Lord is almost obliged to yield to the centurion’s request. He doesn’t just say, “I will come and cure him,” as he did at the beginning, but he underlines the strength of the centurion’s faith: “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” He not only healed the servant - the evangelist writes, “The servant was healed in that hour” - but also the centurion In front of that Teacher, he found himself to be unworthy, but he also found someone who frees from resignation and anguish. Jesus continues into Capernaum and enters the house where he had decided to live. There he finds Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever. Jesus takes her by the hand and heals her. The miracle is told in a simple way, as if to underline the fact that just by taking an elderly person by the hand and helping her stay in her own home is like healing her. The scene ends with a crowd of sick people at the door of the house where they were staying: Jesus heals them all. It is a scene that should cause all Christian communities to question themselves about their presence and their activities in the cities of today. They are all called to be places of welcome and healing.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday