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Sunday 24 September |
The Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Walsingham
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How Jesus responds to crises of faith

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 12/14/22

Crises like John the Baptist's are called a "dark night." The famous author of this expression is the saint we celebrate today, the Carmelite John of the Cross.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

The scene described in today’s Gospel passage begins with a delegation sent to Jesus by John the Baptist. John seems to be in crisis about Jesus’ identity, and so he has them explicitly ask whether or not he is indeed the messiah:

“When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”

Crises like John the Baptist’s are called a “dark night.” The famous author of this expression is the saint we celebrate today, the Carmelite John of the Cross. When we are in this state of darkness we doubt everything, even the certainties that have always guided us in life. At such moments, words don’t count for much, and neither do rational arguments or attempts to shake off doubts and questions. 

Jesus knows this well, so he responds with deeds; that is, he performs a series of significant miracles.

“At that time, Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind.” 

Certain crises serve to purify us – that is, to make the crust of many futile things fall away from us – and they reshape us by making us realize that there are some situations that we can only overcome through humility. For only humble people allow themselves to be evangelized by the concrete events that happen to them. They hand themselves over to them like clay in the hands of the potter.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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