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The Everyday Prayer

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

Anniversary of the inauguration of the pastoral ministry Benedict XVI.

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 6,22-29

Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves.

Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten.

When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side, they said to him, 'Rabbi, when did you come here?'

Jesus answered: In all truth I tell you, you are looking for me not because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.

Do not work for food that goes bad, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.

Then they said to him, 'What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?'

Jesus gave them this answer, 'This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the multiplication of the loaves of bread, the crowd, remaining on the other side of the sea and seeing that Jesus and the disciples were no longer there, got into the other boats, which had come from Tiberias, close to the place where they had eaten the miraculously multiplied bread, and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. They found him "on the other side of the lake." Jesus was not where they had been looking for him. He was not the "king" that they had hoped for so as to satisfy their aspirations, even if they were legitimate and understandable hopes. The prophet Isaiah already recounted the Lord’s words spoken to his people: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways" (55:8). Seeking the Lord asks that we go beyond ourselves and our habits, even our religious ones. Here, the crowd needed to go beyond, far beyond, all the way "on the other side of the lake," which was much farther beyond what they had thought. They had not fully grasped the profound meaning of the multiplication of the loaves of bread. This lack of understanding is clear to us because when they ask after Jesus, they feel again as though they had been abandoned: "When did you come here?" Jesus responds and unmasks their self-centeredness: "You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.2" They had not understood the "sign," that is to say, the meaning that that miracle had. Jesus explains it to them in terms of an assertion: "27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." In other words, go beyond the endless search of satisfying yourselves and go after the food that does not perish. The food that does not perish and that satisfies our hunger because it not only reveals to us life’s meaning, but also gives it to us, is faith in Him. Faith in Jesus, that is our personal investment in following him, is the gift that we receive from on high. Receiving this gift with all our heart is the believer’s "work." No on can delegate this "work" to others. Becoming Jesus’ disciples means letting the Gospel mould our lives, our minds, our hearts, even to the point of making us spiritual men and women. While we listen to the Word of God and commit ourselves to following it, we will see our eyes getting sharper, and Jesus will appear to us as the true bread descended from heaven that nourishes our hearts and sustains our lives.

Memory of the Poor