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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

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 6, 1-6.16-18

'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward.

But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing;

your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

'And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward.

But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

'When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward.

But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face,

so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage is an invitation to live out our faith in the Lord without measuring it according to external actions and attitudes or judging its worth according to the measure of what other people think but instead converting our hearts to God. The motif that recurs throughout this passage is the awareness that all of our actions are performed in God’s sight: God, in fact, looks at and guides our lives. It is because of this loving supervision that He is the one true and impartial judge. Jesus is right to invite his disciples to look to God and not to human beings to receive their just reward. We have all experienced how strong the temptation to live and act "before others in order to be seen by them" can be, that is, the temptation to feed our pride and puff up our self-esteem. In any case, the Lord does not ask his disciples to hide the good that exists in their lives. In fact, he had just invited them to be lights and not to hide their lamps "under baskets." What matters here is an attitude of the heart; what matters is whether we are seeking other people’s approval at all costs and whether we are looking for human praise and reward. Jesus shows us that the only person who truly and deeply understands our prayer, our mercy, and our fasting is the Father. Even when humans cannot understand, it is to the Father that our prayers are addressed, and it is from Him that we can and should expect our one true reward. The reminder to give alms, pray, and fast is an invitation to interiority, that is, to a way of life that is spiritual, not exterior, a life lived in direct relationship with the Lord, with our brothers and sisters, and with the poor, not fenced in by our ego. The reward for a good life is the friendship with God that is strengthened and becomes a source of peace for those who are near to us.


06/15/2011
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets


Calendar of the week
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
DEC
6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
DEC
9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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