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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

Luke 6, 20-26

Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said: How blessed are you who are poor: the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill. Blessed are you who are weeping now: you shall laugh.

'Blessed are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of man.

Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, look!-your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have plenty to eat now: you shall go hungry. Alas for you who are laughing now: you shall mourn and weep.

'Alas for you when everyone speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel narrative according to Luke takes us today to one of the most significant pages of the Gospel: the beatitudes. Jesus has before his eyes not only the Twelve but also the disciples, that is, that broader group of men and women who followed him and the people who ran to hear him. And he immediately takes up the word to teach them. He does not deliver an abstract speech; he does not present a lofty doctrine which goes over the people’s heads. He wants to show those disciples his way so that they can pursue happiness. It is not the same way indicated by the run-of-the-mill mentality which reveals itself to be false and deceiving. How many times, in fact, have we experienced ourselves the failure of so many false myths! And we see around us men and women who seek happiness by following paths which in truth lead to the destruction of life itself. Jesus, moved by God’s loving compassion for humanity, wants to show without wasting too many words his path that leads to happiness. Four sentences, we could say, are enough for him, four beatitudes. Jesus announces to the poor, the hungry, the abandoned, and those who thirst for justice that God has chosen to stand by them. This is why they are "blessed," precisely because they are loved by God and preferred by Him. The closeness of God and of the disciples is a great joy for the poor. They, up to now excluded from life, will be the privileged ones, the favourites. Their beatitude, their happiness, obviously does not flow out of their sad and precarious condition in life. It is not pretty to be poor, or to be afflicted, or to be hungry, or to be insulted. They are blessed because God has chosen to be first of all with them over the others. And Jesus manifests this personally, by his example. We believers have been entrusted with the most serious and fascinating task of making the poor and the weak feel God’s preferential love as Jesus did during his whole life. The rich, the satisfied, the strong should beware, because it is more difficult for them to be happy. With those "woe to you" Jesus warns them about seeking happiness in love for oneself and for riches. The way to happiness for the rich is by spending their life for the poor and the weak.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets