Prayer for the sick

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The prayer for the sick is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Today the Byzantine Church venerates Saint Sabbas (†532), “the Archimandrite of all the hermits of Palestine.”


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

Psalm 85, 9-14

8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
  for he will speak peace to his people,
  to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
  that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
  righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
  and righteousness will look down from the sky.

12 The Lord will give what is good,
  and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness will go before him,
  and will make a path for his steps.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 85 sings the joy of the people of Israel at the time of return from the Babylonian exile. The people understood that their disobedience to the Lord was the reason they were held by the Babylonians. And in the middle of the exile they invoked the Lord so that he might save them from their slavery: “Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation towards us” (v. 4). The people know that God does not abandon them: God has always been good to Israel, even when they wandered far from Him. Their faith is in the Lord and not in themselves. God is faithful forever. He goes as far as to wipe out his people’s sin and the psalmist remembers it: “You forgave the iniquity of your people, you pardoned all their sin” (v. 2). While the people are gathered in the assembly, the psalmist raises a voice that, on behalf of everyone, exclaims: “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people” (v. 8). It is the preaching voice that reminds the entire assembly that the Lord “speaks peace.” We all need to gather together to listen to the Lord who guides our steps on the way of peace. We know that in the language of the Bible the expression peace contains the sum of the goodness that we need, that is life, freedom, justice, brotherhood. This is why the psalmist reminds the assembly that the Lord’s salvation “is close to those who fear him”, to whoever follows his word with an open heart. And as if to show the historic efficacy of the Lord’s closeness to his people, the psalmist imagines a new future of the world and he personifies virtues: in the new temple, established by the Lord love and truth will meet, justice and peace will kiss. The psalmist does not describe an abstract and far away world. Rather he describes the intervention through the change of hearts and therefore in the transformation of the face of history which has a new path, not the path marked by lies and hate, by injustice and conflict, but the path of love and truth, of justice and peace. This new time, the time of the fulfilment of love and peace, has started with Jesus, the prince of peace who loved men and women to the point of giving his own life for their salvation. This is why Christian tradition calls this the psalm of messianic peace. And believers are reminded to follow the Lord: “Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.” (v. 13)