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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

Matthew 13, 10-17

Then the disciples went up to him and asked, 'Why do you talk to them in parables?'

In answer, he said, 'Because to you is granted to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not granted.

Anyone who has will be given more and will have more than enough; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has.

The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding.

So in their case what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah is being fulfilled: Listen and listen, but never understand! Look and look, but never perceive!

This people's heart has grown coarse, their ears dulled, they have shut their eyes tight to avoid using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their heart to understand, changing their ways and being healed by me.

'But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!

In truth I tell you, many prophets and upright people longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus spoke in parables not to hide the mystery, but to engage the heart and the intellect of the listeners. To anyone who has, more will be given. However, from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. It is like for the sign of Jonah: if I am able to recognize it, it is the only sign which will clarify everything; otherwise I will not have any further sign. This is the problem of eyes that do not see and ears that do not listen. We have everything, we believe we understand everything, sometimes we even think we are smart and avoid deceit. But we are not able to see the presence of God in our life. Our heart has become insensitive. How did that happen? If we do not take care of our heart, focusing exclusively on ourselves, searching only our face, then our heart becomes insensitive. In the end we are not aware of the gifts we have received. Jesus can’t bend to a self-centred way of thinking. The mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to the little ones. The wise and the learned cannot understand them. They need to become like infants. We need to choose the way of humility, accepting ourselves as weak, as we really are. When we acknowledge our reality we will be bale to hear words in a close and personal way. The first parable, that of the sower, which is included in the other two synoptic Gospels as well, is iconic of the relationship between our heart and the Word of God. The sower sows widely, he is not concerned about selecting special the ground. Only those seeds which fall on rich soil produce fruit with abundance, maybe counterbalancing the previous loss. Jesus compares himself to the sower, even if he does not say so. Unlike us, he is generous in sowing. The sower is not a cold and careful calculator; we might say that he wastes the seeds. Moreover, he also trusts those soils that look more like a path or rocky ground than a rich and ploughed ground. However, the sower sows even there. He has hope that the seed will produce fruit even in a crevice, before the evil one comes and steals it. The whole ground, indeed, is important to the sower. The ground is as important as the seed. The ground is people’s hearts; the seed is the Word of God. The seed comes from above, it does not grow from the soil spontaneously, it is not the natural and spontaneous result of a sort of religious feeling. The Word comes from outside. However, it penetrates the ground so deeply that it blends in it. It is not a foreign body. If this word is received, it will bear incredible fruit.

Memory of the Church