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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9, 44-45

'For your part, you must have these words constantly in mind: The Son of man is going to be delivered into the power of men.'

But they did not understand what he said; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage presents the second declaration of the passion, death and resurrection. In a way, Jesus is forced to repeat it. Indeed, the moment of death and resurrection represents his “time”—his time of glory which passes through the cross. But it was really difficult for the disciples to understand such a topic. Like all Jews of the time, they were not able to accept the figure of a Messiah as servant or worse--defeated. They were waiting for a victorious Messiah, victorious in the way of the world, or victorious over enemies. They awaited a liberator of Israel from its slavery to enemies. Such an idea found comfort in the healing of a young man freed from an evil spirit. The amazement that is provoked pushed Jesus to gather the disciples and to clarify yet again which was his way. And again he insists: “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” The insistence in saying: “Let these words sink into your years...” seems to want to force the hardness of the disciples’ minds in understanding his true identity. He warns them strongly not to let themselves be deceived by the admiration that everyone has for him, because a humiliating and painful death awaits him. To be “betrayed into human hands,” in biblical language means it will be the painful and cruel fate of a person abandoned by God and left in the power of human judges. And in effect, it will happen thus. But despite such clarity—the evangelist highlights—the disciples do not understand. It is a situation that we can apply to ourselves who so often are distant just as the disciples were back then, distant from Jesus’ thoughts, from his worries and above all from the sense that he had of himself and of his mission. And this happens not by taking sides but because of that sense of self sufficient pride which prevents us from opening the mind and heart to the mystery of Jesus. The problem is very serious for Jesus. It is not that the disciples do not understand his words, but they risk not understanding the very substance of his mission: that salvation comes through his death. On the other hand, how can one accept a defeated Messiah? This is scandalous for the Jews and folly for the pagans, the apostle Paul will say. And also for us today, such a path continues to be senseless. And yet—Jesus affirms this with us too—it is from the cross that salvation is born; it is from a love that knows no limits from which comes the freedom of men and women from the slavery of sin. Not in human power is salvation achieved, but only on the path of love for everyone, a love that reaches far enough to give its life for its enemies. The evangelist notes that the disciples continue to not understand Jesus’ words: “They remained mysterious things which they did not understand.” And they remained in silence, without asking further explanations. It is an attitude of hardness and mistrust. They do not accept their ignorance and prefer to remain in the dark. But Jesus does not abandon them. He continues to teach them, in the hope that little by little they understand the Gospel. And so also for us to today. It is necessary, however, to continue to allow ourselves to be guided and taught.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday