Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Saint Peter Damian (†1072). Faithful to his monastic vocation, he loved the entire Church and spent his life reforming it. Memory of the monks in every part of the world.


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 11,29-32

The crowds got even bigger and he addressed them, 'This is an evil generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be a sign to this generation. On Judgement Day the Queen of the South will stand up against the people of this generation and be their condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, look, there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement Day the men of Nineveh will appear against this generation and be its condemnation, because when Jonah preached they repented; and, look, there is something greater than Jonah here.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jesus is surrounded by many people. Like then, still today, many people search for words that comfort and help them not to succumb to the many fears that make life difficult. We are often at the mercy of events. Those who are weaker are also more fragile. If we are not loved, a sense of being lost surrounds us inside and out. This loneliness is exacerbated by a wicked instinct that leads each of us to think only about ourselves and not to look at others. All this happens even more seriously in today's large cities that really look like the city of Nineveh of which the Gospel speaks. In the huge urban peripheries life has become tougher and more violent, especially for the poorest and involves many young people who see the doors of their future barred. Anyway, we see physical and mental imbalances increase, as well as poverty and marginalization, despair and anguish. Like at Jesus' time, people ask for a sign, an event, may be a prodigious one, that may free them from distress. But there are no magical events that change life or sudden fortunes that make our days serene. There is need of a true "sign" that changes the hearts and makes them more in solidarity with others, more welcoming, more able to love. This sign is Jesus himself, for it is he who changes the hearts. In truth, this is the teaching of this Gospel page, the streets and squares of our cities need to be again visited by the preaching of the Gospel, as Jonah to Nineveh. The Gospel is what helps change our hearts make it of flesh and no more of stone. The Gospel needs to be preached in the streets of today's large cities. It is the only true power that makes them human. It is the only word that makes love grow and loneliness and fear flee. Christians need urgently to go out and preach with deeds and words the Gospel of love in the great urban and existential peripheries, as Pope Francis does not tire of repeating. It is a responsibility that involves all the disciples of Jesus. The proclamation of the Gospel and love for the poor are the "sign" that Jesus continues to be the one who saves from sadness and death. The Gospel page warns us that Nineveh changed its life only with Jonah's preaching. Well, the Gospel is a word much more powerful than the ancient prophet one.