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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 7, 31-35

'What comparison, then, can I find for the people of this generation? What are they like?

They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't cry.

'For John the Baptist has come, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, "He is possessed."

The Son of man has come, eating and drinking, and you say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."

Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage follows Jesus’ answer to the disciples sent by the Baptist who had asked: “Are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another?” (7:18). The austere prophet, even though in prison, was not resigned about the coming of the Messiah. His restlessness is a great teaching still today, given the ease with which one resigns oneself to a world that does not change and which de facto leaves itself prey to the forces of evil. After having responded to the disciples about the Baptist, Jesus weaves in his praise of him. We could say that he invites us too not to acquiesce, not to be stopped in our resigned assurances, not to be like the generation of the Baptist which did not know how to listen to his words, nor to those of the Baptist and the Son of man. Jesus asks, “To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?” Further on Jesus will accuse: “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you?” (Lk 9:41). Turned to those who were listening to him he goes on saying that they are like those children that “sitting in the square, yell to each other: We have played the flute and you have not danced, we have sung a song of lament and you have not cried!” It is the reaction of spoiled children who react in an instinctive and egocentric way. What counts is not what they see and hear but what they feel in a totally self-centred way. It is their “I” that counts and nothing else. He says, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!’” The problem is in the self-centred and closed hearts of those who do not want to get out of themselves and who want to remain prisoners of themselves and of their own restricted horizons. The problem becomes serious when men and women submit themselves and let themselves become slaves to egocentric and self-referential mentalities. The Gospel should return to resounding everywhere in order to free hearts from reoccurring slavery. The apostle Peter intuited this when, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, he turned toward the crowd that had gathered before the cenacle and he said: “Save yourselves from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). The point of this is not that Jesus or Peter is taking a pessimistic position. The Gospel frees us from the slavery of ourselves and gives us the ability to look beyond, to recognize the plan of God for the world, to gather the “signs of the times,” those signs that God inscribes in human history so that we can help to direct it toward the good. Unfortunately we often fold in on ourselves and we see only our own restricted confines or just the four walls of our ego. And this is why we see evermore irritated or whining attitudes grow: everyone defends themselves. The “wisdom” that God came to give us is another: to take part in his grand design of love for the world. There is no more time to lose in complaining or getting irritated: we must commit our time and strength to build up the Kingdom that Jesus came to give men and women of every generation.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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