Prayer for the sick

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The prayer for the sick is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 4,24-30

And he went on, 'In truth I tell you, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country. 'There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a town in Sidonia. And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many suffering from virulent skin-diseases in Israel, but none of these was cured -- only Naaman the Syrian.' When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him off the cliff, but he passed straight through the crowd and walked away.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In response to the Nazarenes' irritated reaction to his first sermon in the village synagogue, Jesus repeats a saying that was well known at the time: "No prophet is accepted in the prophet's own town." He is experiencing this personally. The reason the people of Nazareth do not accept the preaching of the Gospel is that they are blind to recognizing Jesus as having authority over their lives. He is too similar to them. They know where he is from; they know who his friends and family are; he cannot come from on High. But this is the very mystery of the Gospel: The Gospel is made up of human words, but through them it is God himself who speaks. And those who let themselves be moulded by the Gospel reflect somehow God's authoritativeness. Faith means having a gaze that looks beyond appearances and knows how to trust in the Spirit of God. And those who are poor and in need let their hearts be touched by the words of the Gospel. Those who are full of their own pride do not have ears to hear or hearts to understand. They are full of themselves and do not think they need anyone. This is not the way it is for those who are in need. Jesus gives the example of Elijah, who among many widows went only to the one of Zarephath and the case of the prophet Elisha who among many lepers only healed Naaman the Syrian. The Lord sends his prophets to all and is merciful towards all, but only the poor and weak let their hearts be touched and listen to the prophets' words. Face with Jesus' reaction, which exposed their unbelief, the people of Nazareth rebelled and tried to throw him off a cliff. The Gospel of mercy annoys those who are used to only thinking about themselves and set themselves up as judges of others. God's love even extends to those who do not know him, like the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian. This is not only a provocation for the inhabitants of Nazareth, but for each one of us and for a world that throws away those who do not count. Every time we close the doors of our hearts to the words of the Gospel, every time we consider them too foreign or too demanding, our actions repeat the dramatic scene of Nazareth: we throw away the true friend of our lives, the only one who can save us. But Jesus "passed through the midst of them and went on his way," the evangelist writes. As much as we try to throw it away, the Gospel remains a fountain that springs up and "goes on its way" to quench those who thirst for love and salvation.