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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

Mark 8, 11-13

The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with him; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to put him to the test.

And with a profound sigh he said, 'Why does this generation demand a sign? In truth I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation.'

And, leaving them again, he re-embarked and went away to the other side.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist Mark continues to make us follow Jesus, who is back in Jewish territory, in his homeland. And, paradoxically, now the scene changes. The Pharisees approach him, not like the poor and the weak who seek him for help. They, instead, secure in their position, want to fight him. They ask for a sign that may confirm unequivocally his claims and the works that he continues to perform. It is really paradoxical: they see the miracles, they hear words of love, but their mind does not understand. The reason is clear: their hearts are hardened. For this reason, even though they have eyes, they do not see the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, they do not recognize the healing of the sick, and they do not understand his words of mercy. What more did they want? In truth, all those signs lead directly toward the recognition of the one true “sign”, Jesus himself. But they do not accept that such a good man is the Messiah who saves. They do not receive his words and his Gospel in their heart. The preaching and the miracles that bring the weak and the poor to Jesus, carry the Pharisees away from him. Their eyes were satisfied from their practices and their observances, and they could not see with the eyes of the heart the signs of love he was performing in front of them. It is a risk that even the disciples of Jesus can run whenever they become satisfied by their condition and their religious practices. It is also the risk of our communities, when they close in on themselves, when they are content with the things they do without looking at the wounds of the poor, of the many who are on our doorstep and whom we do not always see. Many were around Jesus, many were healed by him, but we can be blind when we are used to looking only at ourselves and when we live in our own little world, which becomes a justification both of our actions and of our habits. It is not enough to feel good and just. The Gospel, which every day always questions the self-sufficiency and security of our generation, is the sign that we are given of the presence of the Lord in our lives. Before the Gospel we are called to ask ourselves to recognize Jesus as the ultimate sign of the life and love that come from the Father.

Prayer for peace