Prayer for the sick

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Memorial of Porrajamos, the massacre of the Gypsy people by the Nazis during the Second World War. Memorial of blessed Ceferino Gimenéz Malla, a Gitano martyr killed in Spain in 1936. We remember Yaguine and Fodé, two boys 15 an d14 years old from Guinea Conakry, who died because of cold in 1999 while they were trying to fly to Europe where they dreamt to study hidden in the cargo hold of an airplane. 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

Matthew 14,13-21

When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the crowds heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick. When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, 'This is a lonely place, and time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.' Jesus replied, 'There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.' But they answered, 'All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.' So he said, 'Bring them here to me.' He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps left over, twelve baskets full. Now about five thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The episode of the multiplication of the loaves is reported six times in the Gospels (two in Matthew and Mark and one in Luke and John respectively). Evidently it had impressed greatly the community of the first disciples, as one of the signs that most summarized Jesus' very mission. Jesus' heart cannot resist in front of the compassion for the crowds: First he heals the sick and then starts talking to them, until the evening. And everyone listens to him. The crowd was not mostly without bread, but they were lacking true words about their own life. That is why they stopped all day to listen to Jesus. Truly "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." However, the Lord knows well that human beings also live on bread, it is written in fact: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, ... But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt 6:25-34). This is what happens in the passage of the multiplication of the loaves. The disciples, thinking they were more caring than Jesus, interrupt him: "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus replies: "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." The Lord knows very well that there is little in the hands of the disciples: just five loaves and two fish; yet they must respond to the need of that crowd without sending them back. The miracle begins right here: from weakness placed with confidence in the hands of the Lord. And it is transformed into wealth. The evangelist emphasizes the abundance of bread: it is the sign of God's overabundant generosity. Our poverty, placed in God's hands, becomes abundance. He makes our weakness strong and our poverty rich. This is also the meaning of the twelve baskets of leftover bread: each disciple, each of the twelve, is given one of those baskets so that he may feel the grave and sweet responsibility of distributing the bread that God's mercy has multiplied in his hands.