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

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. Read more

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Wednesday, February 21

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. The evangelist speaks of "crowds," in the plural, who increase around Jesus. 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. In the past years, when we were at the mercy of the pandemic that upset the entire planet, we learned how to lift our eyes to heaven and ask for help. We felt in first person the fear of being overwhelmed. In the large cities, like Nineveh at Jonah's time, the bewilderment was even greater. Even today life in the peripheries of the huge urban peripheries has become tougher and more violent, especially for the poorest as the elderly and the young people for whom the doors of their future are barred. 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 us from distress. At times people ask for a "saviour" who may take control everything with the illusion of offering a magical solution. There are no magical events that change life or sudden fortunes that make our days more serene. There is need of a true "sign," of a true Saviour who helps change the hearts and make 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. It is a responsibility that involves all the disciples of Jesus, not the professionals. 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. The Gospel is a word much more powerful than the ancient prophet one.

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!