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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

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.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is an old temptation to ask God for a sign, even if to budge what seems to us at times to be his silence, his indifference or, anyway, to get a confirmation of his presence. To ask God for a miracle or a sign does not go against the logic of the Gospel. Jesus himself teaches us to ask for "good things" in prayer. But faith, Jesus states in today’s Gospel, does not depend on the portentous acts we would like. It is enough to think that Jesus, passing along the streets of Galilee, had already performed several healing miracles and had worked other signs that clearly spoke of the coming of the new Kingdom, and yet a great many of the people continued in unbelief. Faith, generally, does not after portentous signs, if anything it is the condition for miracles to occur. Even today so many seek prodigious signs in order to nourish their faith. And when something extraordinary takes place so many gather there. If these "signs" come they are certainly gifts from the Lord. But we should be more attentive than we normally are to the "sign" par excellence that the Lord has given to all which is the "sign of Jonah." The early community read these words in the light of the Resurrection: "For just as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth" (Mt 12:40). The "sign" of Jonah is therefore the Gospel’s central proclamation, that is, the mystery of Jesus’ death and Resurrection. To offer this sign is the equivalent of communicating to the world the heart of the story of Jesus: he offered his life on the cross for our salvation and the Father raised him from the dead. And this Gospel (Good News) is much more precious than the wisdom of Solomon and much stronger than Jonah’s preaching. "Something greater than Jonah is here" -Jesus says in the Gospel today. This is why the proclamation of the resurrection, i.e., of the victory of good over evil, of life over death, of love over hatred, cannot remain hidden within esoteric and restricted groups. This proclamation must shine forth over all humanity and show the way to follow. Christians - nobody excluded, from the youngest to the oldest - need to become lamp stands for the Gospel.

Memory of the Poor