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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 7,36-50

One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee's house and took his place at table,

suddenly a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment.

She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what sort of person it is who is touching him and what a bad name she has.'

Then Jesus took him up and said, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' He replied, 'Say on, Master.'

'There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty.

They were unable to pay, so he let them both off. Which of them will love him more?'

Simon answered, 'The one who was let off more, I suppose.' Jesus said, 'You are right.'

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, 'You see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair.

You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in.

You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

For this reason I tell you that her sins, many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone who is forgiven little who shows little love.'

Then he said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.'

Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, 'Who is this man, that even forgives sins?'

But he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While Jesus is at the table, a prostitute approaches, invited by a Pharisee, and stretches out beside him; and weeping, anoints his feet. It is undoubtedly a unique scene in every way. And we can well understand the reaction of those present, moreover considering the customs of the time. All react with annoyance at this woman who has "crashed into" the house and interrupted the luncheon. And doubtless they think that Jesus is at the least naive seeing that he does not realize what kind of woman is she who has come near to him. And if he realizes it is even more incredible that he allows her to go on with her acts. In short, Jesus at the very least doesn’t understand: he is out of it and out of touch with the customs which govern life. In truth, it was they, those present, who do not understand neither that woman’s love nor her desire to be forgiven nor the love of Jesus who had come to save and not to condemn. Contrary to the Pharisees, Jesus, who reads in the secret place of the heart, has understood that woman’s love, has accepted her and forgiven her. And so that his sentiments are understood, he tells the brief parable of the two debtors. He thus makes the Pharisee recognize his pettiness compared to the tenderness of that woman who "has not stopped kissing my feet." And he adds: "Her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love." Love, in fact, cancels sins and changes life because it puts us on the same wavelength as God who, as John writes, "is love." And love is the force which regenerates the human heart.

Memory of the Church

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