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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 5, 1-16

After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticos;

and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralysed.

One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years,

and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in that condition for a long time, he said, 'Do you want to be well again?'

'Sir,' replied the sick man, 'I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets down there before me.'

Jesus said, 'Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around.'

The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and started to walk around. Now that day happened to be the Sabbath,

so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, 'It is the Sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.'

He replied, 'But the man who cured me told me, "Pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around." '

They asked, 'Who is the man who said to you, "Pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around"? '

The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared, as the place was crowded.

After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, 'Now you are well again, do not sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.'

The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him.

It was because he did things like this on the Sabbath that the Jews began to harass Jesus.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The evangelist, John, who will guide our steps in the next days, brings us to a pool in Jerusalem, called Bethesda (house of mercy). It was a place held to be sacred and miraculous where along its edges gathered blind, lame, and paralyzed men and women waiting for an angel to stir up the water. The water alone was not enough. An angel needed to come and stir it up; the Word of God needed to blow and make that place a true house of mercy. Often Christian tradition imagined the Church—or, better said, the community of believers—as an ever-open fountain welcoming all, regardless of any distinction. Beautiful are some icons that depict Mary beside a fountain quenching the thirst of the weak and poor. And John XXIII loved to compare the Church to the village fountain where all come to quench their thirst. Our communities should be inspired by the model of this pool. It is not a magic place; it always requires the presence of an angel. Yet, a paralytic had been there for thirty-eight years. Today we would call him a "chronic" invalid, using the terminology commonly employed to coldly define those who have no hope of being healed. He was there waiting for someone, that is an angel, to help him. But he had lost all hope. When Jesus passed by, he looked at the paralytic’s eyes and asked him: "Do you want to be made well?" This was probably the first time someone had stopped to give him any hope. Finally, the paralytic was no longer alone. It is here, with this new closeness, that the man’s hope starts anew. The interest that Jesus has shown him opens the man’s heart, and he responds by telling this unexpected friend about the deep bitterness that has been caused by years of disappointment. When people are alone, it is hard to heal. And indeed, today there are still many people who are left alone in the moment of their greatest weakness! With Jesus, the true angel has come, the one who moves that man’s - and everyone’s - heart and limbs. He tells him: "Stand up, take your mat and walk." Perhaps we, too, need to hear these words and move past our egoism so as to become "angels" of those who need help and comfort.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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