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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 11, 29-32

The crowds got even bigger and he addressed them, 'This is an evil generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.

For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be a sign to this generation.

On Judgement Day the Queen of the South will stand up against the people of this generation and be their condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, look, there is something greater than Solomon here.

On Judgement Day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and be its condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented; and, look, there is something greater than Jonah here.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jesus is surrounded by many people. They had need of true words which would save from fears and anguish. Like then, there are many people today who are looking for security and tranquillity. It is obviously a legitimate quest. But it is often carried out in an irrational way, if not deeply mistaken. It is for example a mistake to place on the poor and lonely the causes of insecurity or distress. There are indeed causes and they are to be sought carefully. But perhaps -even if it is not easy to realize it—true insecurity stems from the radical aloneness each of us has. Yes, we are alone, we do not feel loved and therefore a sense of being lost envelops us inside and out. This deep solitude is rendered more acute by that evil instinct which leads each person to think only of themselves and not to regard others. It is also true that the great cities of today, like the great Nineveh, have made life difficult. Existence has become harder and more violent, especially for the poorest. It is not rare for the convulsive rhythms of our cities to lead to physical and mental unbalance, to poverty and marginalisation, and to desperation and anguish. This is why it is easy to think that force or something prodigious can give us security. Hence seeking for a "sign," for something which in a quasi-magical way will free us from anguish. But there are no magical escapes; there are no esoteric paths to traverse. But in truth what our cities need is for their cities and squares to be traversed once again by the preaching of the Gospel, as when Jonah preached repentance in Nineveh. The Gospel is much more precious than the wisdom of Solomon and much more powerful than the preaching of Jonah. The Gospel is the true force which we have in our hands in order to make our city more humane, to give back a heart to the dryness of a life which generates conflicts and violence. We Christians have the great responsibility of living and communicating the Gospel so that our cities can be saved from despair and violence.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets