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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 11, 28-30

'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The verses are few, but full of that compassion of which we heard at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, as Matthew himself writes: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (9:36). He, as if to synthesize the whole of his saving activity, calls to himself all those who are tired and burdened by life: from the tax-collector whom he called to follow him, to the small group of men and women who have chosen him as Teacher, to yesterday’s tired and exhausted crowds who can finally find a shepherd, to those, even more numerous, of today who have a very hard time finding one who thinks of them, to those oppressed by the excess of power of the rich, to those hit by the violence of war, of famine, of injustice. Over all these crowds, today, the words of the Lord resound: "Come to me, and I will give you rest." And we should be his voice. Yes, today’s Christian communities, spread to all parts of the earth, should repeat these same words of Jesus to the crowds needful of help and comfort: "Come, we will refresh you!" But does this happen? Does it not happen that we are mute, perhaps because we are preoccupied only with our internal issues? And yet it is evident to all that there is a need for this invitation! There is a need for a new audacity. But it can only come from a heart like Jesus’. Let us avoid turning in on ourselves, remaining prisoners of referring everything to ourselves. Let us with greater courage give witness with words and deeds the extraordinary -and unique—mercy of Jesus. The "rest" of which the Gospel speaks is none other than Jesus himself: to rest on his chest and nourish ourselves on his Word. Jesus, and only him, can add: "Take my yoke upon you." He is not speaking of the "yoke of the law," the hard yoke imposed by the Pharisees. The yoke he speaks about is the Gospel, which is at the same time demanding and easy, precisely like him. Therefore he adds: "learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart." Learn from me: that is, become my disciples. We have need of it; and above all the numerous crowds of this world, who are waiting to yet again hear Jesus’ invitation, "Come to me , and I will give you rest," have need of it.

Memory of the Church