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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

Mark 2,13-17

He went out again to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking along he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him. When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard this he said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

We continue to read the Gospel according to Mark. Day after day, the Gospel unites us to Jesus and to the small community that he gathered, while he takes his first steps in the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus continues to walk along the shore of the lake of Galilee and he encounters Levi, a tax collector, sitting at the tax booth. Publicans, or tax collectors, were distrusted and despised, but Jesus stops right in front of the sinner. Jesus looks at him and invites him to follow him. And Levi, without hesitation, leaves everything behind and begins to follow him. The small community grows in number and Jesus does not worry about the background or condition of those he calls to follow him. Indeed, to join the community of disciples there are no requirements: it does not matter how we are, our story or character. Levi is even considered a public sinner because of his job as tax collector that enriched the treasury of the Roman oppressor. This does not stop Jesus. In order to be part of the community of disciples what matters is to listen to the Word of God and put it into practice. For Levi, who will be known also as Matthew, as for the first four disciples, it was enough to hear one single word: "Follow me." Levi got up, left his table, and began to follow Jesus. The evangelist goes on to say that Levi organized a lunch in honour of Jesus and the disciples. However, Levi invites his friends, tax collectors and sinners. At this, the Pharisees accuse Jesus publicly for his sinful behaviour and reveal their hardness of heart. They are capable of neither seeing nor understanding the meaning of mercy. Jesus' sensibility is quite different: "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners," he replies to their accusations. Not that Jesus considered the Pharisees righteous. They were the ones who erroneously thought righteously of themselves. But certainly, Levi and the other diners - like each of us - were weak, poor, and sinful. Jesus came specifically for the weak and the sinners, but he also came for the Pharisees. And some of them will end up following, too. But, the condition to be saved is not to consider oneself righteous, but rather to be in need of the Lord's help.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday