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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 16, 24-28

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?

'For the Son of man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his behaviour.

In truth I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming with his kingdom.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel passage immediately follows Peter’s profession of faith. Jesus then rebukes him when Peter tries to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem after he shares that he will suffer, be killed and then rise from the dead. At this point, Jesus wants to explain clearly to the disciples what it means to follow him: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me". His words seem harsh, and they are, but Jesus is the first to live them out. And now he proposes them to his disciples, who need not do anything else but follow their Teacher, who has taken up the cross before they have—not his but everyone’s cross, that is the difference—because from the cross comes salvation. Jesus’ proposal to his disciples seems paradoxical to the egocentric mentality that guides our convictions and behaviours. In truth, he expresses a deep wisdom that is evident in the following sentence: "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." Jesus warns us that spending our energy, time and strength to save ourselves, or to realize ourselves, actually leads us to lose ourselves and to a life that is sad and often devastated. Only if we live for the Lord, only if we plan on spending our life to love all, without any limits, just as Jesus had done, then we will taste the joy of life. What is it worth to gain the whole world if we are neither loved nor capable of loving? Only the Lord saves us and only he teaches us what love is. Like love, the eternal life is not something we can buy, but only receive from the Lord, who in due time "will repay everyone for what has been done." Following the Lord is the serious business for our life, because it is only God who can save our life from evil and death.

Memory of Jesus crucified