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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

Mark 4, 26-34

He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land.

Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.

Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

And when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come.'

He also said, 'What can we say that the kingdom is like? What parable can we find for it?

It is like a mustard seed which, at the time of its sowing, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth.

Yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.'

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it.

He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were by themselves.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist Mark reports two parables spoken by Jesus. The first is that of the seed that grows by itself. It is the image of the Word of God that once sown has strength that does not depend on us. For indeed every time the Gospel is communicated and reaches the heart, it sooner or later bears fruit. In fact, the prophet Isaiah said: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, ... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Is 55:10-11). Certainly, the problem is to communicate the word. This is the great responsibility that has been entrusted to the Church and to every believer. There is a great thirst for the Gospel among people, and often we keep silent, maybe because we think there are things more vigorous and strong than the Gospel. This is a very grave mistake. The strength of the Gospel does not follow our human measures. The Word of God is like a seed, even the smallest of the seeds. Indeed, what is weaker than the small book of the Gospel? It is only a word; it may be disregarded, forgotten, removed, or even mocked. And yet it is a very precious treasure. It is the one true treasure that the disciples have, the one true strength able to change people’s hearts. If the Gospel is welcomed in the heart and cultivated with attention, it will deliver an incredible force of change. Not only does it change the heart of those who listen to it, but it also extends its influence beyond us: "It puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." The Gospel is the strength of the disciples; it is the strength of all Christian communities, either large or small. The only thing asked of the disciples is to allow themselves be carried away by the energy of this small seed.

Memory of Jesus crucified