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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

Mark 6, 45-52

And at once he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side near Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away.

After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray.

When evening came, the boat was far out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

He could see that they were hard pressed in their rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by,

but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and cried out;

for they had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke to them and said, 'Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.'

Then he got into the boat with them and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded,

because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Commenting on this Gospel page, the Fathers of the Church compared the boat in the middle of the lake to the Christian community (and of every disciple) that traverses the sea of life. Actually, it is the experience of all believers to see that the wind of this world (with its consumerist culture and egocentric mentality and the slavery to the market and hedonism at any cost) blows “contrary” to the Gospel. But yet, beyond many fallacious world promises, life’s journey, beyond the deceiving promises of the world, is never easy and even less without obstacles. This is why, facing the unavoidable difficulties, it is even easier to allow ourselves to be overcome by fear and fall into the spiral of sadness and bewilderment. In this materialistic and self-centred mentality it is even easier to think that the Gospel is an empty word, like a ghost. If the disciples thought so wouldn’t we think it even more caught as we are by our ghosts? But Jesus continues to show himself repeating, “Do not be afraid!” Yes, he repeats it even to us, disciples of the last hour and frightened by the difficulties of the time we live in. They are words that reach us with special strength. Jesus knows well our unbelief and limits. Not only does Jesus come close to and exhort us, he gets in the boat. And his loving presence promptly calms the wind. The strength of the disciples, their very peace, and their hope lie in taking Jesus with them and placing their trust in him, especially in the difficult moments of life. The Lord is not a ghost; he is the truest, strongest friend. At Christmas we have contemplated and received him as a small and helpless infant, yet very strong. Today is a wise pastor who guides us and protects us. In truth, both child and adult, Jesus reminds us that true strong power is love. And love, as it appears in the Gospel, is both as weak as a child, because it is not marked by arrogance, but it is also as strong as the One who walks on water agitated by the winds, and is able to calm them. The love of God, in his meekness and mercy, is stronger than any evil, even of those waves of death that do not cease hitting people and that seem irresistible. That child has already defeated them and with them the last wave, that of death.

Memory of the Church