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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Anthony the Abbot (†356). He followed the Lord into the Egyptian desert and was father of many monks. A day of reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 3,1-6

Another time he went into the synagogue, and there was a man present whose hand was withered. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with. He said to the man with the withered hand, 'Get up and stand in the middle!' Then he said to them, 'Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?' But they said nothing. Then he looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is Saturday, and Jesus, as his custom was, went to the synagogue for prayer. There, he meets a man with a serious handicap to his arm. An apocryphal gospel, according to the Hebrews, puts on the lips of the man the following prayer: "I was a mason, I earned my living by the labour of my hands; O Jesus, I pray you to heal me so that I do not have to beg shamefully for my bread." Hearing these words brings to mind the many workers who have accidents on the job and who are injured for the rest of their lives. These tragedies demand more attention from everyone so that the workplace may be free of injuries and death. It is a plague that requires greater attention from everyone. As soon as Jesus sees this man wounded in the hand, he is moved. This always happens to him whenever he encounters the sick and the weak. The Pharisees, however, who are not at all interested in the man's impairment, sense that something will happen. Jesus never remains still in front of the pain of the people. Jesus knows well he must fulfil the will of the Father and so he turns to the man and orders him: "Stretch out your hand!" The man obeys the word of Jesus and extends his hand. He is healed. Obedience to the Gospel always leads to healing; it makes us regain what we have lost because of sin or our frailty. After all, Jesus came so that every human being may be no longer a slave of evil, but may share in the new horizon of God that is the fullness of life. That man is healed and able to return to ordinary life. Healing does not occur so that people remain prisoners of themselves - the meaning of the "withered" hand is also a hand used only to help themselves - but healing this hand is done so that it may be at the service of others, for the common good of all. The hand is healed, in fact, "to give a hand" - as we say - to those in need. This is why Jesus does not violate the Sabbath, as the Pharisees accuse him. With this healing, the true "Sabbath" (i.e., the day of God) enters into the life of men and women: creation reaches its fulfilment in that man. Whenever the mercy and salvation of God touch the lives of human beings, the "Sabbath" of God is fulfilled: the feast of love and fullness of life.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday