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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

Mark 1, 40-45

A man suffering from a virulent skin-disease came to him and pleaded on his knees saying, 'If you are willing, you can cleanse me.'

Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.'

And at once the skin-disease left him and he was cleansed.

And at once Jesus sternly sent him away and said to him,

'Mind you tell no one anything, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your cleansing prescribed by Moses as evidence to them.'

The man went away, but then started freely proclaiming and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but stayed outside in deserted places. Even so, people from all around kept coming to him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus’ preaching in Galilee lasted several weeks, and during this period, he performed various miracles, including this one involving a leper. It is known that lepers were doomed to marginality, and what they could wish for was some alms. But, when he heard about Jesus, this leper did not resign. He wanted to heal. And, overcoming the limitation that prevented him from entering an inhabited place, he came to Jesus; after all, to whom else could he go, if not to Jesus? For fear of contagion, all kept him away from them. But Jesus welcomed him. It is a scene emblematic of how Jesus relates with the weakest. In that leper, we see the very numerous ranks of those who still today have no hope of healing and who are turned away from men and women for fear of contagion. Sometimes it is not only about individuals but also about entire peoples who are excluded from development, to which everyone is entitled. That leper knelt down and prayed for healing from the only person who did not chase him away: Jesus. Finally, the one who not only did not send away the weak and the poor, but also, and on the contrary, welcomed them had arrived - the one who even went towards them to the point of showing them predilection. The evangelist Mark notes that when Jesus saw him, he “was moved with pity.” This is the origin of the miracle, to be moved by compassion for the poor, for the weak, for the sick. Jesus, the compassionate, was touched in the heart by the invocation that was simple but full of confidence. That leper had realized that the young prophet had a good heart and that he was also strong – that he was the only one, therefore, who could save him. Jesus listened to the prayer for healing of the leper and said, “I do choose, be made clean!” Then Jesus touched with his hand the leper who by law had to be considered untouchable. All three Synoptic Gospels note that Jesus touched the leper with his hand. Through this physical contact, Jesus healed him; he gave him back the dignity in the body and the right to live with all, without experiencing discrimination. Shouldn’t the many lepers of today have the same confidence that that leper reposed in the young prophet of Nazareth towards us, as the disciples of Jesus? From the encounter between the confidence of the leper and Jesus’ compassion gushed the miracle. It should happen even today. Perhaps in order to prevent the leper from being prosecuted because he had violated the prescription, Jesus warned him not to say anything, but to present himself to the priests and to make the offering as it was prescribed. The man, however, full of joy, could not refrain from disclosing the news, and he told the overflowing joy he felt. This Gospel scene is announced to us so that we, too, may hear the cry of the poor as Jesus did and listen to them, and with his help, “perform” the miracles that he did and we may thus expand the joy of the poor in our world.

Memory of the Church

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday