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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Muslims celebrate the end of fast during the month of Ramadan (Aid-al-Fitr)

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

Luke 4, 31-37

He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath.

And his teaching made a deep impression on them because his word carried authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and he shouted at the top of his voice,

'Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.'

But Jesus rebuked it, saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!' And the devil, throwing the man into the middle, went out of him without hurting him at all.

Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, 'What is it in his words? He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.'

And the news of him travelled all through the surrounding countryside.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus, expelled from Nazareth, chooses to stay in Capernaum, a small city that becomes "his city." It is precisely here, in the city, that Jesus’ preaching starts off. Luke presents him while he is teaching and a man possessed by an evil spirit begins to cry out: "Let us alone! What have you to do with us?" Jesus commands the evil spirit to leave that man, and it promptly leaves him. Everyone, Luke writes, was frightened and asked themselves who this might be who spoke so authoritatively that he could even cast out unclean spirits. We don’t really know what the Gospel accounts mean when they speak about these spirits; they were, in any case, capable of entering into human life to the point of disturbing physical and psychic functioning. But if we think of the distortions and the anguish that so often are produced in our cities, I think we are not far from understanding this Gospel passage. The evil spirits of which the Gospel speaks are not unfamiliar spirits, unknown; we know them well and perhaps they are a bit present in all of us, too. It is that spirit of indifference, of gossip, of love only for oneself, of fear of being cast aside, of fear of not counting for anything in anyone’s affection; a spirit that is abusive to others; a distrustful spirit that leads to anguish and violence; a spirit of selfishness which pushes us to move forward without bothering about others; a hateful spirit of big and small vendettas. And how many other "evil" spirits, unclean, whirl among us and ruin our lives and our relations with others, often making us lonelier and sadder! How can we cast out these spirits? How can we keep them far from our lives and the lives of others? The Gospel tells us that extraordinary powers, precisely the kind that even unclean spirits obey, are given to us by faith, by the word of the Gospel and by friendship with Jesus. How often, on the other hand, do we not seek out powers and therapies in so many directions while we have close to us he who can keep them far off authoritatively? The true authority that is able to cure and resolve so many human situations is friendship and loving closeness to Jesus. And this is the authority that Jesus exercised towards all and which he has asked be also exercised by his disciples.

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