Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
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Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Memorial of Saint Nicholas (+ 343) whose relics are in Bari. He was a bishop in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and is venerated throughout East. Memorial of all Christians who live in the East. Read more

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Wednesday, December 6

Memorial of Saint Nicholas (+ 343) whose relics are in Bari. He was a bishop in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and is venerated throughout East. Memorial of all Christians who live in the East.

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

Matthew 15,29-37

Jesus went on from there and reached the shores of the Lake of Galilee, and he went up onto the mountain. He took his seat, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel. But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, or they might collapse on the way.' The disciples said to him, 'Where in a deserted place could we get sufficient bread for such a large crowd to have enough to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'How many loaves have you?' They said, 'Seven, and a few small fish.' Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks he broke them and began handing them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

"Jesus, returning to Galilee, climbs once more up the mountain." In the Bible language the high place gives us a hint of the unique intimacy between the Son and the Father but in those days is transformed into a sort of sanctuary where the sick, the poor, and the lame can be brought to be welcomed and healed. The text suggests that this continues for three straight days, almost without a break. At the end, it is Jesus who is moved and decides that after having nourished their hearts with the bread of the Word, he wanted now to feed them with physical bread. Jesus cares about our whole life, the life of the heart and of the body. The disciples instead reveal their insensitivity to the crowd and their needs. And when Jesus points out to them that it was necessary to think about finding some food, they cannot do anything other than show their resignation: it is impossible in that place. Jesus, who is never resigned, invites them to look for bread among the people. It is the second time that this miracle is narrated. And it occurs in a pagan region - the periphery, we could say - to show that everyone is waiting for Jesus' nourishment. The disciples find only seven loaves of bread. Unlike the account of the first multiplication, the number of loaves is seven, like the seven baskets that later will gather up what remains. Seven represents completeness. This is the task Jesus entrusts to the Church, to his disciples. It is not by change that seven deacons will be chosen to carry out the service at the table. Jesus takes those seven loaves and multiples them for the four thousand people who are present. It is a miracle born from a passionate love for that tired and hungry crowd. This gospel passage is an invitation for us to feel Jesus' same compassion for the weak and the poor so that we too can take part in the miracle of the multiplication of love.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say. So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9: 3-7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!