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The Everyday Prayer

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

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 11,16-19

'What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't be mourners. 'For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He is possessed." The Son of man came, eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Word of God continues to take us by the hand to help us prepare our hearts to welcome the Lord. The time has come for our generation to let its heart be touched by the preaching of the Gospel. There is a common temptation to come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid accepting the exhortations of the Gospel and returning to the Lord with all our heart. How often can it be said of us, sadly, that "we played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn." We are all led to think only of ourselves. Yes, love for ourselves is the only melody we know and the only one we follow with obstinate perseverance. We invent the most extravagant excuses to put aside everything that disturbs our egocentrism. In the end, we only trust ourselves and nothing else. Obviously when one plays just for him/herself, the result is not a harmonious concert! Faith - even though it certainly requires reason - passes through the heart, that is our entrusting ourselves in God. Communion of goals and love spring from here. Often our rationalizations are made to suit our own ends, that is, to defend our independence, our pride, and our self-sufficiency. But as it was for John the Baptist and the people of his time, so it is for us now - the time has come to choose, to decide to follow Jesus or to continue running after ourselves. It is a choice that we cannot put off and that the imminence of Christmas helps us understand and make. The true "wisdom" needed for this season is found in understanding the great mystery of Christmas: a God who loves us so much that he became a child in order to be near us. Christmas is the extraordinary "work" of God’s love. This is why it is beautiful to be moved by the Child who is coming.

Memory of Jesus crucified