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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

John 6, 22-29

Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves.

Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten.

When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side, they said to him, 'Rabbi, when did you come here?'

Jesus answered: In all truth I tell you, you are looking for me not because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.

Do not work for food that goes bad, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.

Then they said to him, 'What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?'

Jesus gave them this answer, 'This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the multiplication of the loaves, the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea, seeing that Jesus and his disciples had departed, took other boats from Tiberias, located near the place where they ate the miraculously multiplied bread, and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. They found him “on the other side of the sea,” the evangelist notes. In fact, Jesus was not where they were looking for him. It was not the “king” that they wanted in order to meet their, perhaps legitimate and understandable, aspirations. The prophet Isaiah reported the words of the Lord to his people: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (55:8). The search for the Lord always requires us to go beyond ourselves and beyond our habits, even our religious ones. The crowd must, therefore, go further, much further, really “on the other side of the sea,” beyond what they had originally thought. They had not understood the profound meaning of the multiplication of the loaves. In fact, when they come to Jesus, feeling resentful as if he had abandoned them, they ask, “When did you come here?” And he responds by exposing their self-centred understanding of the miracle of the loaves: “You are looking for me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” In fact, they did not understand the “sign,” that is the spiritual significance of the miracle that Jesus did. The miracles were not simply the manifestation of Jesus’ power; rather, they were “signs” indicating the new kingdom that he had come to establish on Earth. Those signs called for the conversion of heart for those who received them and for those who saw them, that is the choice to be with Jesus, to follow him, and to join him in the work of transforming the world that those “signs” already indicated. Jesus, as the good shepherd who leads his flock, tells the crowd the meaning of the miracle they had witnessed. And he says to them, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you;” in other words, “Overcome the narrow horizon of satiety for yourself and look for the food that does not perish,” the food that satisfies forever. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to his disciples, “And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:29-31). The bread that comes from heaven is Jesus himself; he is the kingdom, justice, and boundless love that the Father has given to men and women. Accepting this gift with all our heart, and making of it our daily food is the ‘“work” that believers are called to accomplish. It is not a vague sentiment; it is a real “work”, which requires choice, decision, commitment, work, effort, and above all, passionate and total involvement. From this, there is a great joy. No one can delegate to others this “work.” To become a follower of Christ means to let the Gospel shape our lives, our minds, our hearts, so that we become spiritual men and women. As we listen to the Word of God and we commit ourselves to follow it, our eyes become sharper, and we see Jesus as the true bread descended from heaven who nourishes our hearts and sustains us in life.

Prayer for the Sick