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

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

John 3,1-8

There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night and said, 'Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.' Jesus answered: In all truth I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. Nicodemus said, 'How can anyone who is already old be born? Is it possible to go back into the womb again and be born?' Jesus replied: In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; what is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

During this liturgical season of Easter, the Liturgy welcomes us with the pages of the Gospel of John that tell about the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus. We could say that this elderly pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, is the first of a new generation born not by the Law of the flesh but by the power of the Spirit. We saw him during the passion honouring Jesus with a dignified burial. The evangelist John presents him to us in the context of his first meeting with the young teacher from Nazareth. A remarkable esteem for Jesus had developed in Nicodemus' heart, but he had been afraid of showing it publicly. So, he chose to encounter him at night. While Nicodemus starts speaking to him, Jesus seems to interrupt him, and tells him: "No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus responds in return, "How can anyone be born after having grown old?" Jesus does not enumerate the actions to perform or list a series of precepts to observe. What Jesus shows to Nicodemus clearly is the need of a total change of life, in depth: being born again does not mean doing something more or thinking something else; rather it means welcoming the Spirit of God that creates life again in one's heart. The prophet Ezekiel writes: "I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God" (Ez 11:19-20). That night, the words of the prophet became flesh in this elderly Pharisee and gave him the energy of a new life: he became a disciple of Jesus.