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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

Luke 12, 54-59

He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does.

And when the wind is from the south you say it's going to be hot, and it is.

Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

'Why not judge for yourselves what is upright?

For example: when you are going to court with your opponent, make an effort to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the officer and the officer have you thrown into prison.

I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To those who asked for a sign so that they might believe him, Jesus responded that he was the only one who fully and clearly manifested the love of God. Why are we unable many times to recognize the “signs of the Lord” even if they are right before our eyes? The answer is simple: because we are so concentrated on ourselves and on our affairs, we are unable to see anything else. And yet, Jesus says, we are capable of recognizing the cold and hot. In this case, we raise our eyes up to look at the sky or to leave our houses to feel the wind. Jesus warns the disciples that we must look up and recognize the time of salvation. This is about lifting up our gaze from ourselves and going out of our rigid habits that make us closed up in ourselves and getting away from the egocentrism that makes us blind in order to gather in the “signs” that the Lord sends us. The first, greatest sign is the Gospel: it is the sign of signs. Listening to this Word and putting it into practice is the first work of the believer. There are other signs, too: the sacraments, in particular the Holy Liturgy that enables us to participate in the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord. The Church tells us that the Mass is the culmination and font of the entire spiritual life. How much more attention should we pay to living the holy mysteries in which we are brought together. There is also another sign, that of the multitudes of poor and all those who wait to be liberated from the slavery of this world. Being inattentive to their condition is tantamount to neither understanding God’s heart nor the story of salvation. In this passage, Jesus firmly admonishes his audience, “You [do] not know how to interpret the present.” There is an urgency to understand the world in which we are living and the culture that spans across peoples in this new millennium. Men and women are subjected to what we can call a “dictatorship of materialism”. It is a slavery that has become a kind of culture that renders our world even more inhuman and violent. An objective judgment, a true understanding of history that is open to hope, comes from reading Scripture often and listening to the Word of God. The example that Jesus gives of trying to come to an agreement with your enemy before going to the judge – that then it will be too late - suggests the opportunity to reconcile our lives to the Gospel to be saved. The Word of God helps us to see the signs of God’s presence and that our generation needs the Gospel of love. It helps us also to respond with the same passion that Jesus had in asking the disciples who have been made part of his dream for the world.

Memory of Jesus crucified