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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Pope Saint Calixtus (+222). He was a friend to the poor and founded the house of prayer on which later would be built the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

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

Luke 12, 1-7

Meanwhile the people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another. And he began to speak, first of all to his disciples. 'Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees -- their hypocrisy.

Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.

For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed from the housetops.

'To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.

I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, he is the one to fear.

Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God's sight.

Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage once again refers about thousands of people who were gathering around Jesus, so many that they "trampled on one another." They were men and women in need of consolation and in search of a better life. They had finally found a person in whom to confide, on whom to place trust and hope. Their true shepherd had come. Jesus immediately puts them on guard about false shepherds or better, the yeast of hypocrisy which made the guidance of the Pharisees unbearable and dangerous. The Pharisees’ religiosity which Jesus accuses them of was merely external, it did not involve the heart. Such a religiosity contaminates, like bad yeast, the whole of life. But the moment will come -says Jesus—in which all this will come to light and the face and sadness will appear of those who built their own existence with a heart without love and mercy but rather showing their own pride and trying to save themselves. Different, on the other hand, is the condition of the disciples who hear and follow their Teacher: "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more ... fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell." Here Jesus makes a precious distinction. The body can die, but there is an "after." It is on this "after" that the disciple is called to reflect. The "after"--Jesus suggests--is tied to the " heart," that is, the interior life, that " place" where the encounter with God takes place, or-and it would be a dramatic choice—the encounter with the one who can " cast into hell." In Jesus’ words there is no disdain for the body; how many times has he healed! But there is no doubt that the care we have for conversion of the heart is quite little compared with that which we have for our body, for our material well-being. At times for this external well-being we undersell even our soul. Jesus reminds us that the Father who is in heaven takes better care of us than of the birds, and he knows each hair on our head. Let us take care of the heart and of its growth in love.

Memory of Jesus crucified