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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Kings 4,1-7

The wife of a member of the prophetic brotherhood appealed to Elisha. 'Your servant my husband is dead,' she said, 'and you know how your servant revered Yahweh. A creditor has now come to take my two children and make them his slaves.'

Elisha said, 'What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you got in the house?' 'Your servant has nothing in the house,' she replied, 'except a flask of oil.'

Then he said, 'Go outside and borrow jars from all your neighbours, empty jars and not too few.

When you come back, shut the door on yourself and your sons, and pour the oil into all these jars, putting each aside when it is full.'

So she left him; and she shut the door on herself and her sons; they passed her the jars and she went on pouring.

When the jars were full, she said to her son, 'Pass me another jar.' 'There are no more,' he replied. Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, who said, 'Go and sell the oil and redeem your pledge; you and your children can live on the remainder.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter four reports several miracles performed by Elisha that are similar to those already performed by Elijah. We could say that the Word of God is continuing its work in human history. The first miracle is the multiplication of oil for a widow whose husband was a member of the community of prophets. With complete faith, she turns to the prophet and asks him to help her pay a debt, because otherwise she will be forced by her creditor to sell her children as slaves. When the prophet asks her what she has in her house, she responds that she only has a jar full of oil. Her answer echoes many scenes in the gospels in which those who ask for help are clearly materially poor but rich in their ability to ask.. Moved by the faith of this woman who does not resign herself but puts her faith in the prophet’s strength, Elisha prepares a miracle for her. He does not do anything magical, but asks her to go and gather the empty jars from her neighbours. Then he tells her to go into her house and close the door behind her. It is the same exhortation that Jesus will make the disciples when he invites them to pray in secret: "But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret" (Mt 6:6). The empty jars are immediately filled to the brim with oil. After she sees what has happened, the widow goes back to the prophet, because now she trusts in his word completely. She knows that she can put her faith in him. The prophet tells her to sell the oil produced by the miracle. With the money from the sale not only can she pay the debt, she has also provided for her and her children’s future. We can compare this scene to the miracle of preaching that fills our cold, empty hearts with the love and strength of the Lord. Not only do we find salvation ourselves, but we also become wellsprings of love and mercy for others. All that is asked of us is to obey Word of God, like the widow who saw her life and the lives of her children saved.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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