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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of St. Michael the Archangel. The Ethiopian Church, one of the first among the African churches, venerates him as its protector

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9, 46-50

An argument started between them about which of them was the greatest.

Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds, and he took a little child whom he set by his side

and then he said to them, 'Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. The least among you all is the one who is the greatest.'

John spoke up. 'Master,' he said, 'we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.'

But Jesus said to him, 'You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has just spoken for the second time of the cross that awaits him in Jerusalem. We have seen how the disciples, yet again, have not wanted to comprehend Jesus’ words, nor have they asked to shed light on their ignorance. In reality, the words pronounced by Jesus were clear. The problem is that the disciples did not want to understand because their minds were worried with other things compared with the thoughts that worried the mind of Jesus. In this Gospel passage the evangelist Luke reveals which the real worries of the disciples were: who among them had first place. In sum, even back then the primacy of position and career, of a position to dominate over others, appears. What was happening was truly incredible: Jesus was in anguish over the death that awaited him and the disciples, instead, were discussing among them who was the greatest. There is truly an abysmal distance between their worries and those of the Teacher. We could say that the disciples—certainly them, but also us—were fully children of this world and of the competitive mentality which rules relationships between people. It is a habit which solidly accompanies all generations. We could say that it is the remains of the first sin: Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God. Because of a disobedience to God, division among people and its consequent reciprocal accusation continue to be triggered. Jesus came to turn disobedience upside down, “making himself obedient unto death and a death on the cross,” writes the apostle Paul (Eph 2:8). He came to establish relationships of brotherhood and service, not competition among men and women. And so that the disciples would understand well his thinking, Jesus took a child and put him next to him, as if to identify the child with him, and he told them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” In the kingdom of heaven, and therefore also in the community of Jesus’ disciples, great are those who make themselves small, that is children of the Gospel, those who recognize their weakness and entrust everything to the Lord. Whoever lives with the faith of a child, whoever feels they are son or daughter of God, knows how to listen to his Word and has the same thought of God and recognizes the things which come from God. For this reason—according to the words that Jesus said—a disciple recognizes good wherever it is fulfilled, even if the person who does it is not part of the group of disciples. To John and to all Christians who want to downplay, or worse, hinder the good deeds of someone because they do not belong to the circle of disciples, Jesus repeats, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.” It is a great lesson of wisdom, also a human lesson, which renders Jesus’ disciples able to recognize the action of the Spirit in the history of humanity.

Memory of the Poor

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