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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 19,3-12

Some Pharisees approached him, and to put him to the test they said, 'Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?'

He answered, 'Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female

and that he said: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?

They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh. So then, what God has united, human beings must not divide.'

They said to him, 'Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?'

He said to them, 'It was because you were so hard-hearted, that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning.

Now I say this to you: anyone who divorces his wife -- I am not speaking of an illicit marriage -- and marries another, is guilty of adultery.'

The disciples said to him, 'If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is advisable not to marry.'

But he replied, 'It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted.

There are eunuchs born so from their mother's womb, there are eunuchs made so by human agency and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus’ mission in Judea is beginning. He will remain here until the end of his life. A great crowd is following him, and, as always, he continues to teach and heal the sick people who are brought to him. Obviously, his work, which already met obstacles in Galilee, will find even greater opposition here. The Pharisees ask him a question about "divorcing" a wife, that is, whether is lawful to divorce her for any reason, as some people maintained. Jesus does not enter directly into the question, but instead reminds them of God’s original will with respect to the union between a man and a woman. If Moses allowed divorce, it was because of the human and spiritual coarseness of the Jews of that time. In response to the disciples’ wavering, Jesus reaffirms the absolute primacy of love in all relationships between disciples. This primacy also needs to preside in married life. And it also needs to apply to those who, as Jesus says, "have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." These people do not just need to renounce things; they also need to live out the Lord’s love without limits.

Memory of Jesus crucified