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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 6, 19-23

'Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.

But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal.

For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.

'The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light.

But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be!


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus urges his listeners of yesterday and today not to store up "treasures on earth." This is a very wise teaching, especially in a rich and opulent society like ours. We need to free ourselves from the slavery of possessions and consumption, which reduce our lives to consider ‘the material’ as the only important thing. A little later, Jesus will warn his disciples about the very dangerous equivoque of those who think to be able to "serve two masters." We know well Jesus’ severity about the power that things and money have on us. Indeed, a true dictatorship of materialism is growing more and more in our world. It is like an invisible hand that forces us to submit to the law of consumption and the accumulation of materials things. The Gospel's teaching is very clear on this matter: whoever accumulates a lot falls prey to a great love for things and is moved by a passion that takes control of the heart. This is why Jesus affirms: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Our true treasure, Jesus says, can be found by following the direction of our heart. Therefore, it is necessary to cultivate the heart and make it grow according to the Gospel. The words of the Gospel should shape how we act and how we feel, forging a way of life far from the longing for possessions and accumulation, which Jesus compares to the rusting of metal that consumes the heart. Instead, storing up treasures in heaven means loving the Word and putting it into practice. Doing this carries us to heaven. The prophet writes: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth...so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth" (Is 55:10, 11). Heaven, therefore, is not a distant goal: heaven is a life with the Lord, with our brothers and sisters, and with the poor. Anyone who spends his or her life according to the Gospel stores up treasures that endure in heaven; not only can they never be stolen from the believer, but they will bear abundant fruits of love and goodness.

Memory of Jesus crucified