change language
you are in: home - prayer - the everyday prayer contact usnewsletterlink

Support the Community


The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 5,1-3.5-16

After this there was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem next to the Sheep Pool there is a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people, blind, lame, paralysed. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in that condition for a long time, he said, 'Do you want to be well again?' 'Sir,' replied the sick man, 'I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets down there before me.' Jesus said, 'Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around.' The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and started to walk around. Now that day happened to be the Sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, 'It is the Sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.' He replied, 'But the man who cured me told me, "Pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around." ' They asked, 'Who is the man who said to you, "Pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around"? ' The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared, as the place was crowded. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, 'Now you are well again, do not sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.' The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the Sabbath that the Jews began to harass Jesus.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The evangelist John, who will guide our steps for the next few days, brings us to Jerusalem, to the edge of a pool called Bethesda (“house of mercy”). It was considered to be a holy and miraculous place. In fact, around it gathered blind, crippled, lame, and paralyzed people who waited for an angel to stir up the water. The water was not enough. An angel needed to come and stir it up; we could say that the Word of God needed to blow and make that place a true house of mercy. Often Christian tradition has imagined the Church—or, better said, the community of believers—as an ever-open fountain welcoming all, without distinction. There are beautiful icons that depict Mary beside a fountain quenching the thirst of the weak and poor. And John XXIII loved to compare the Church to the village fountain where all could come to quench their thirst. Our communities should be inspired by the example of this pool. It is not a magic place; it always requires the presence of an angel. Yet, a paralytic had been there for thirty-eight years. Today we would call him a “chronic” invalid, using the terminology commonly employed to coldly define those who have no hope of being healed. He was there waiting for someone, an angel, to help him. But he had lost all hope. When Jesus passed by, he looked at the paralytic’s eyes and asked him: “Do you want to be made well?” This was probably the first time someone had stopped to give him any hope. Finally, the paralytic was no longer alone. It is here, with this new closeness, that the man’s hope starts anew. The interest that Jesus has shown him opens the man’s heart, and he responds by telling this unexpected friend about the deep bitterness that has been caused by years of disappointment. When people are alone, it is hard to be healed. And indeed, today there are still many people who are left alone in the moment of their greatest weakness! With Jesus, the true angel has come, the one who moves that man’s - and everyone’s - heart and limbs. He tells him: “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” Perhaps we, too, need to hear these words and move past our egoism so as to become “angels” of those who need help and comfort.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 14 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 15 January
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 16 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 17 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 18 January
Memory of the Church
Friday, 19 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 20 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday