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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of the apostle Barnabas, companion of Paul in Antioch and on his first apostolic journey.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Kings 19,19-21

Leaving there, he came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. 'Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you,' he said. Elijah answered, 'Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?' Elisha turned away, took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the oxen's tackle for cooking the meat, which he gave the people to eat. He then rose and, following Elijah, became his servant.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the encounter with God on Horeb, Elijah begins his return journey. He immediately meets Elisha, the successor chosen by God, while he is tilling the fields. Prophets did not come from a certain sector or particular group. Some, like Isaiah, were born in the city; others came from rural areas, like Amos and Micah; still others belonged to priestly families, as Jeremiah and Ezekiel did. Elisha was called while he was tilling his fields. In general calls are marked by a particular gesture which manifest a sign from God. For Isaiah, for example, one of the seraphs around God’s throne purified his lips with a hot coal (Is 6:6-7). God himself extended his hand on Jeremiah and touched his mouth while he communicated to him His words (Jer 1:9). The Lord made Ezekiel eat the scroll which tasted like honey to him (Ez 3:1-3). For Elisha, the prophet Elijah put a mantle on his shoulders: "Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him." Everything happened suddenly: we do not know if the two knew each other, but as soon as Elisha received the mantle "He left the oxen, ran after Elijah." So what happened? That mantle was not a regular mantle. Elisha understood that he was wrapped up in the spirit of the Lord, and that an inheritance which he was responsible for had been placed on his shoulders. He understood that he was not the one who chose, but that he was chosen by the Lord to announce His Word. In fact, the prophet never speaks about himself or for himself: everything is about God. The same will happen on the banks of Lake Galilee when Jesus began to call his first disciples. They too immediately left their nets and followed him. It is very true that Elijah welcomes Elisha’s desire to go and take leave of his parents. And there is no doubt that it is different from what Jesus said in an analogous circumstance: "To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’" (Lk 9: 58-62). The Gospel contains a radical feature that cannot be dulled or diluted. What counts, above all, is following the Lord. Having returned from his parents Elisha begins to follow Elijah. The mission of the prophet—of every disciple—requires listening and following. It is about welcoming on one’s shoulders the Word of God and communicating it in our turn.

Memory of the Apostles

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 18 June
Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Monday, 19 June
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 20 June
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 21 June
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 22 June
Memory of the Church
Friday, 23 June
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 24 June
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 25 June
Liturgy of the Sunday