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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

Matthew 11, 20-24

Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

'Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Still, I tell you that it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on Judgement Day than for you.

And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be raised as high as heaven? You shall be flung down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet.

Still, I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on Judgement Day than for you.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has just rebuked his generation because it has rejected the preaching of the Baptist and was doing the same with his preaching. Deafness in receiving the plan of salvation as presented by the Baptist was thus manifested. And now they also rejected the message which Jesus had come to bring. At this point, Jesus turns to the two cities of Galilee near Capernaum and apostrophises them harshly: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" The accusation has to do with their rejection of Jesus’ preaching, despite the notable number of miracles he did among their inhabitants. It is thus not simply a matter of a life gone astray, as for example was the case with Sodom and Gomorra, but of the stubbornness of both cities’ inhabitants in not accepting the Gospel in their heart and converting. Jesus calls to mind two ancient pagan cities, Tyre and Sidon, who would have done penance and fasted if they had witnessed the miracles performed at Chorazin and Bethsaida. It is a cry of distress by Jesus, who sees the failure of so much preaching and loving acts towards everyone. There is even a mystery involved in non-acceptance. But this can be understood within the logic of hardness of heart in hearing and receiving everything that comes from a place beyond ourselves. Self-sufficiency and pride inexorably lead to hearts and minds being closed. Thus Jesus’ most severe judgment on the two cities. Jesus then apostrophises Capernaum, where he had made his dwelling-place together with his disciples. With Capernaum also he is most severe: "No, you will be brought down to Hades!" Jesus seems to refer not only to the inhabitants, but to the city itself. In effect, there is a link between the inhabitants and the city in which they live. We could say that life in society is the result of the quality of life of its inhabitants. If there is lack of interest for the life of all and each one thinks only of his own affairs, the city self-destructs. Hell begins like that, growing from egocentrism of the heart. There is a responsibility Christians have towards the city in which they live. They should be the soul so that that city, and the men and women who live in it, are helped to live in peace and harmony.

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