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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 12, 54-59

He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does.

And when the wind is from the south you say it's going to be hot, and it is.

Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

'Why not judge for yourselves what is upright?

For example: when you are going to court with your opponent, make an effort to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the officer and the officer have you thrown into prison.

I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To those who demanded a sign before they would believe in his words, Jesus answered that he was the only sign that fully and clearly manifested God’s love. Why are we incapable of seeing the "the signs" of the Lord even when they are right before our eyes? The answer is easy: because in general we only pay attention to our own affairs and ourselves. But this is not what happens when we want to know whether it will be hot or cold, Jesus says to his listeners. When we want to check the weather, we look up to see the clouds and we go out of our houses to feel the wind. In the same way, Jesus warns us, we need to look up to understand the time of salvation. We need to raise our eyes from ourselves, leave behind the well-established habits that harden us, distance ourselves from the egocentrism that makes us blind, and become attentive to the signs that the Lord is sending us. The first great sign is the Gospel, which we could call the sign of signs. Listening to its word and putting it into practice is the first work of the believer. There are other signs, too: the sacraments and, in particular, the Holy Liturgy which allows us to participate in the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord. The Church tells us that the Holy Mass is the summit and the fount of the whole spiritual life. How much more attentive should we be! And then there is another sign, a plural sign: the poor and all of those who are waiting to be freed from the slavery of this world. To not pay attention to their condition means to not understand the heart of God and of history. "You do not know how to judge these times" -Jesus admonishes in the Gospel. It is urgent that we understand the world in which we live and the culture found across the peoples of this new millennium. Human beings are subjected to what we could call the "dictatorship of materialism." It is a form of slavery that has transformed itself into a sort of culture that makes this world of ours even more inhuman and violent. An objective appraisal, true insight into history, open to hope, comes from carefully turning many times to Scripture. The example Jesus adduces of reaching an agreement with one’s adversary before judgment day -it will then be too late—suggests the opportunity to make one’s life in accord with the Gospel and to be saved. The Word of God helps us to discern the signs of God’s presence and to see the need that this generation of ours has of the Gospel of love.

Memory of Jesus crucified