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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 1, 29-39

And at once on leaving the synagogue, he went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew.

Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed and feverish, and at once they told him about her.

He went in to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to serve them.

That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils.

The whole town came crowding round the door,

and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.

Simon and his companions set out in search of him,

and when they found him they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.'

He answered, 'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.'

And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out devils.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel describes Jesus’ intense activity in Capernaum during two consecutive days. Jesus leaves the synagogue with his small group. He is not alone anymore; he has chosen to communicate the Gospel of the kingdom together with the group of disciples he has gathered. With them, Jesus forms a special family that is founded not on blood ties, but on the relationship with him. The evangelist shows him entering people’s homes in Capernaum. Immediately he performs a miracle. Peter’s old mother-in-law is presented to him; she is lying in bed with fever. Jesus gets close to her, takes her by the hand, and lifts her up, healed. The woman immediately "began to serve them." Jesus’ healing allows us to rise from the immobility of our selfishness and laziness so that we may serve Jesus and his community. It is not magic: Jesus took that elderly weakened woman by the hand and lifted her up, giving back vigour to her. This healing teaches each of us about the elderly who are close to us, even in our homes. The evangelist next describes a moving scene: gathered in front of the door of that house were "all who were sick or possessed with demons.’" The evangelist says: "The whole city gathered around the door." It is a scene that questions our Christian communities, our churches, and even our hearts. Why is it rare today to see similar scenes? And isn’t it against the Gospel to keep the weak, the immigrants, the gypsies, the mentally disabled, and those who ask for help far from our churches (and from our hearts)? Jesus came out and "cured many." Mark does not write that he cured all of them, but many, as if to underline that the wound of the many sick that we are not able to help still remains open. Early in the morning, Jesus gets up and goes in an isolated place to pray. He starts his day with prayer, that is, with the encounter with the Father in a secluded place, intimate, far from the crowds and confusion. To Jesus, prayer is not only the temporal beginning of the day; it is also its foundation. When the disciples turn their minds and hearts to God, the new time proclaimed by the Gospel starts. To be in front of the Lord in prayer, like children who expect everything from him, means to start a new way of living: to do not simply our will, as generally each of us does, but rather that of the Father. And the Father wants people to be saved. This is why Jesus answers the disciples who wanted to keep him in the area; he calls us to stretch our hearts to the ends of the earth. He does not stop in the usual places but he goes everywhere. And wherever he goes, a new atmosphere of feast is created especially among the poor; even the lepers come to him and are healed.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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