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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 9, 41-50

'If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, then in truth I tell you, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

'But anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone hung round his neck.

And if your hand should be your downfall, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire thatnever be put out.

And if your foot should be your downfall, cut it off; it is better for you enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.

And if your eye should be your downfall, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell

where their worm will never die nor their fire be put out.

For everyone will be salted with fire.

Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This page of the Gospel of Mark should be read in the context of the conditions laid down by Jesus for entering and remaining in the community of the children of the Kingdom of God. His words are demanding; this is true, but this is so because the Lord came to establish a new and stable life which requires radical decisions. This is why the Gospel is hard on those who test or endanger the faith of the least, on whoever scandalizes the weak and the poor of the community. “Scandalizing” means “tripping,” pushing over. In the Scriptures the word “scandal” means whatever is an obstacle to others on the way of good. Preventing others from knowing good means closing the door to the knowledge of God, the source of good and of love. Therefore “scandalizing” is serious. Whoever lays down an obstacle to faith and denies help to needy people is severely condemned by the Gospel. Jesus went so far as to say that it would be better for them to put a millstone around their necks and throw themselves into the sea. We never want to give up anything of ourselves, even when it is necessary. This is why nothing changes in our lives. But Christian life is conversion, separation from ourselves, giving up something of ourselves for the good. Today, on the contrary, we would prefer having not two but three hands, three feet, three eyes, owning as much as possible, piling up as many things as possible. Therefore Jesus’ language appears to be too severe. It is not that we should consider these indications literally, but rather understand that there is a priority we cannot ignore: not to be an obstacle to anyone on the path of love by refusing to give up anything of our own. The same severity is required by the Gospel toward ourselves. Usually the contrary happens, as we know very well from our personal experience: we are hard with others and indulgent with ourselves; we are ready to blame others and more than anxious to excuse our mistakes, or, as is written in another passage of the Gospel, ready to see the speck in the other’s eye and not to recognize the beam that is in ours. Always the Gospel involves giving up evil, wickedness, selfishness, the ego which dominates the stage and prevents conversion. This is the only way to keep the taste of the Gospel. Jesus said to have salt in ourselves, that is, to be able to understand what is necessary for the life that never ends.

Memory of the Church

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