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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 9, 14-17

Then John's disciples came to him and said, 'Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?'

Jesus replied, 'Surely the bridegroom's attendants cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth onto an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.

Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine in fresh skins and both are preserved.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The disciples of John, who lived a harder life than the disciples of Jesus, question him directly about such a difference: “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” We know well that in order to accelerate the coming of the Kingdom, fasting had a prominent role in the piety of the Pharisees, as well as in that of John’s disciples. In other passages, the Gospel reproaches the ostentation of the Pharisees, but this passage mentions only the practice of fasting. The Pharisees interrogate Jesus only to judge him, to catch him in the act of breaking the Law so as to discredit him. But John’s disciples ask to understand. We have never to be ashamed of asking for Jesus’ help. The Master replies with the image of the coming of the bridegroom, and compares the disciples to the friends of the bridegroom who prepared and shared the marriage, obviously a great celebration. Actually, in this passage, Jesus created a new and joyful climate, similar to a feast, to that of the marriage. With Jesus the true “bridegroom” had come among men and women, or to say it better, the Saviour of men and women. For this reason, the disciples and the poor, the sick, the sinners were the ones celebrating. In fact they all felt they had been set free from the slavery of evil and could rejoice. This was happening in a restless struggle. Till now, they could rejoice. But Jesus admonishes and declares that hard times will come soon. They will come for him; in this we find a reference to the Passion, as well as for the disciples and the communities. How not to think of the numerous persecutions which still today befall Jesus’ disciples? Then, during the hard days, the disciples “will fast,” Jesus adds. But before that, they need to dress for the feast and drink the wine of mercy; this will make them strong for the hard times. By mentioning old wineskins, Jesus is referring to the usual rigid frames of mind and religious schemas that were in practice. Gospel love needs new hearts, free from natural schemas and prejudices in order to welcome the very love of God. The religious leaders of Israel could not bear the novelty of a message too new for old categories. Let’s think of ourselves today. Resistance to the novelty of the Word of God means to be closed to the Spirit, maintaining perishable traditions that shield us at times with what was always done and thought. The Gospel of love frees us from enclosures and restraints in order to involve us with the large horizons of God.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday