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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

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

Matthew 20, 17-28

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the road he took the Twelve aside by themselves and said to them,

'Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death

and will hand him over to the gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised up again.'

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low;

and he said to her, 'What is it you want?' She said to him, 'Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.'

Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They replied, 'We can.'

He said to them, 'Very well; you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.'

When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers.

But Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that among the gentiles the rulers lord it over them, and great men make their authority felt.

Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant,

and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave,

just as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'


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 drawing near to Jerusalem, and for the third time he confides his disciples what is waiting for him in a very detailed way. Jesus foretells that the priests will judge him and consign him to the Gentiles (the Romans) who will mock and flog him and will put him to death on the cross. But then - he adds one more time - "on the third day he will be raised." As often happens to us, the disciples do not listen, or, if they do, they think that he is exaggerating as usual. How often we think the words of the Gospel are exaggerated; that they are beautiful to hear but difficult to live! The evangelist tells us that when faced with the tragedy that Jesus is living, the disciples do not seem to know how to do anything other than to reveal their ambitions and claim privileges for themselves, showing where their true concern lies. Jesus is thinking about what will happen to him in Jerusalem, and the disciples are thinking about the recognition they will receive. Jesus is going towards the cross, and they are thinking about "thrones of glory." In fact, they all want the same thing that the mother of the sons of Zebedee requests. But Jesus tells them: "You do not know what you are asking," and with great patience he teaches them by showing them the path they should follow. He seems to accept the disciples’ ambition, but he turns it completely on its head: "Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant." It is a path that runs contrary to the paths of the world and contrary to the path we instinctively follow. With his own life, Jesus shows his disciples how he wants them to be "different." Jesus, in fact, came to serve and not to be served. That is what he asks of all of his disciples, including us, during this time in which we are following Jesus towards Easter.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets