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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 6, 34-44

So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, 'This is a lonely place and it is getting very late,

so send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.'

He replied, 'Give them something to eat yourselves.' They answered, 'Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?'

He asked, 'How many loaves have you? Go and see.' And when they had found out they said, 'Five, and two fish.'

Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass,

and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties.

Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and began handing them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all.

They all ate as much as they wanted.

They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish.

Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The verses preceding the passage of the Gospel we heard reports of Jesus’ decision to offer his disciples a moment of rest since “they had no leisure even to eat” (6:31) for the many people coming to him. And maybe even Jesus took advantage of that moment. They decided to go on the other shore of the sea. But when they reached the place they found a huge crowd waiting for them. The evangelist immediately notes that Jesus “had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Now that they found the shepherd they would not leave him anymore, rather they would try to precede him, like in this case. Moved in his heart, Jesus stayed on the shore and taught them for the entire day. All of them were hungry for true words for their lives, so much so that they remained to listen to that young prophet well into the evening without anyone leaving. Jesus truly was the new pastor who would not let his sheep go without nourishment, without bread. Towards evening, the disciples, thinking themselves wiser than their Teacher, suggested that he send the people away to procure their own food from the nearby villages. Probably in the opinion of the disciples, Jesus had spoken for too long: too many words! It was now time to let the crowds who had praisefully stayed to listen to him to go home! But Jesus’ heart is much larger than the narrow-mindedness of his disciples. He knows very well that we need nourishment for the heart and also for the body. Often we think exactly the opposite. How much care we have for our body and how little for our heart! Jesus cares about both. This is why he does not send anyone away while they were listening to him, so he does not send them away for dinner. He commands everyone to sit as if around a table. He asks for the five loaves of bread they had found among people to be brought to him and then he multiplies them as he had previously multiplied his words: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Then he asks his disciples to distribute to all what he himself had multiplied. And everyone was filled. This Gospel page asks to be “multiplied;” that is, put into practice by every Christian community. The multiplication of the communication of the Gospel and love for the poor is the way that the Lord sets out for the Church today so that it may attract all those who are hungry and thirsty for love and hope. If the Gospel multiplies easily, also the tables for bread will multiply. Whoever witnessed it knows that this way is truly miraculous.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets