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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 6,30-35

So they said, 'What sign will you yourself do, the sight of which will make us believe in you? What work will you do?

Our fathers ate manna in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'

Jesus answered them: In all truth I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread;

for the bread of God is the bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.'

Jesus answered them: I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In yesterday’s Gospel passage, to the people’s question—"What must we do to perform the works of God?"—Jesus responded: "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." The disciples ask him again: "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?" In light of the recent miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, such a request seems unjustified and specious. In truth, the request aims at obtaining yet another more extraordinary sign that will confirm that he is indeed sent by God. Perhaps they wanted Jesus to solve the problem of the scarcity of bread, not just for the five thousand who had just benefited from the miracle, but for the entire people of Israel as had happened when their ancestors ate manna in the wilderness. The memory of the manna in the wilderness had remained very much alive in Israel’s tradition and is often remembered in the books of the Old Testament. It was at the coming of the Messiah that the people expected the repetition of this miracle. Jesus responds, however, that it was not Moses who gave them the bread from heaven, but "it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Jesus, by saying "true bread," interprets manna as a sign of the new bread. This new bread, "the bread of God" that comes from heaven, is Jesus himself. But the crowd still has not profoundly understood Jesus’ words; they come to their understanding of his words from the starting point of themselves, from their needs and instincts. They do not understand what Jesus truly wants to say. This happens to us when we do not enter deeply into the words of the Gospel because we would rather listen to them as we want to and reduce them to our horizon without understanding that they are actually trying to push us beyond ourselves. This is a "spiritual" reading of the Bible, that is, a reading done within a prayerful state. Sacred Scripture must be listened to with a heart open to being touched by the Lord. Without a readiness to listen, without invoking the Holy Spirit before reading the Bible, we risk having in front of ourselves not the Lord speaking to us, but our egos that only get in our way. The disciples’ request is correct: "Sir, give us this bread always." But in reality it sounds false, just as how Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well sounded. The disciples’ incomprehension leads Jesus to affirm clearly and solemnly: "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." We could say that Jesus employs every figure of speech just to tell us of his immense love for us. He is the true bread, the true life, the truth, the light, the gate, the good shepherd, the vine, the living water...he is the resurrection.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday