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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

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 6, 34-44

So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, 'This is a lonely place and it is getting very late,

so send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.'

He replied, 'Give them something to eat yourselves.' They answered, 'Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?'

He asked, 'How many loaves have you? Go and see.' And when they had found out they said, 'Five, and two fish.'

Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass,

and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties.

Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and began handing them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all.

They all ate as much as they wanted.

They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish.

Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist notes that the crowds that Jesus met were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. When Jesus saw them, he had compassion for them and began to speak to them for the entire day. All of them were hungry for true words for their lives, so much so that they remained to listen to that young prophet well into the evening without anyone leaving. Jesus truly was the new pastor who would not let his sheep go without nourishment, without bread. Towards evening, the disciples, thinking themselves wiser than Jesus, suggested that he send the people away to procure their own food from the nearby villages. In the opinion of the disciples, Jesus had spoken for too long: too many words! It was now time to let the crowds go free! But Jesus’ heart is much larger than the narrow-mindedness of his disciples. He knows very well that we need nourishment both for the heart and the body. This is why he came among us and does not send anyone away. Turning to his disciples he says to them: "You give them something to eat." The disciples are disconcerted at this peculiar invitation; they have very little money with them and yet they answer: "Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?" (v. 37). They have not understood yet that their richness is the Lord! Even today often Christians look for sophisticated tools to change the hearts and the world, but they forget that they have the Gospel in their hands that is the true richness and strength that changes the world. Jesus sends them to see how many loaves of bread there were. The answer is baffling: "Five, and two fish" (v. 38). Truly nothing; but Jesus, opposite to what everyone was thinking, orders everyone to sit. In sum it looks like an invitation to sit at the table. He has the five loaves of bread and two fish they found among people brought to him and multiplies them just as he had multiplied his words: "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4). Then he asks his disciples to distribute to all what he himself had multiplied. This Gospel page asks to be "multiplied;" that is, put into practice by every Christian community. The multiplication of the communication of the Gospel and a larger love for the poor is the way that the Lord sets out for the Church today so that it may attract all those who are hungry and thirsty for love and hope.

Prayer of the Christmas season