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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death, brought to Rome where he died a martyr (+107).

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, 13-21

A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.'

He said to him, 'My friend, who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?'

Then he said to them, 'Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.'

Then he told them a parable, 'There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land,

thought to himself, "What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops."

Then he said, "This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them,

and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time."

But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"

So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus again shows us what the disciples’ attitude towards material goods should be. The topic is brought up by a man who asks Jesus to intervene so that two brothers divide their inheritance equally. But Jesus refuses to intervene. He is not a master in apportionment, but in the things which have to do with God and the human soul. Thus He does not intervene in questions of inheritance but rather in the hearts of men and women. It is in fact in the hearts of the two brothers that greed nests, covetousness, interest only for oneself. Goods are external and do not represent themselves as an occasion for evil. The heart of the two brothers-as often our hearts are—were weighed down by the desire for money and the desire to possess. In such a terrain nothing but division and struggle can sprout, as Paul reminds Timothy: "The love for money is a root of all kinds of evil." Jesus explains this behaviour with the parable of the foolish rich man. This man believed that happiness could be had by accumulating material possessions. There are many also today who think in this way. How many continue to sell even their own heart to seek riches and consume their whole life for them! There is a dictatorship of materialism which thrusts us with incredible force to spend our life in order to possess and consume riches and material goods. Jesus tells us that in the life of this rich man-but it is the logic of the greedy—there is no space for others, because his preoccupations are directed only towards accumulating goods for himself. But this rich man has forgotten the essential, i.e., that no one is master of his own life. We can possess riches, but we are not masters of life. And happiness does not lie in possessing goods but in loving God and the brothers and sisters. There is a fundamental truth which is true for all: we have not been created in order to accumulate riches but to love and be loved. Love is the radical good humans must seek every which way. Those who live with love accumulate for themselves the true treasure for today and for the future. Love, this extraordinary heavenly treasure, unlike earthly goods which can be lost, runs no risk of being stolen. Love cannot be bought, it is a gift one receives from God, and neither can it be stolen. Obviously we can dissipate it if we do not guard it, and above all if we do not distribute it to others. The fruits of love remain forever. Jesus takes up a biblical tradition which compares good works to treasures kept in heaven, as an ancient Jewish saying went: "My parents accumulated treasures underground, and I have accumulated treasures which bear interest."

Memory of the Poor